Blueline Buses/HCBS:

In October 2007 People’s Action, formed a Blueline Victims Association with members of victims’ families as office bearers. In continuation of the efforts to establish responsibility for repeated deaths on Delhi roads by Blueline Buses and to seek compensation for such victims a petition was filed on the suo moto case in the High court of Delhi on behalf of People’s Action, acting for the Blueline Victims Association. The petition sought the dismissal of the Transport Minister for dereliction of duty and criminal negligence and sought a level compensatory format for all Blueline victims. In September 2008, the Delhi High Court ordered that interim compensation will have to be given by Blueline owners to victim’s family in case of an accident. A bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar ordered that the Blueline owners will have to pay Rs.1,00,000 as interim compensation to victims’ families in case of fatal accidents and Rs.50,000 to those with grievous injuries or permanent disability as the result of a mishap. This order was also applicable on Delhi Transport Corporation and state carriage buses.

In December 2007, People’s Action received an invitation from the Manager - TRIPP, the IIT group that was supposed to have crafted the HCBS proposal, to meet and discuss the project. However we asked them for extensive information on the project before meeting and in fact sent them a list of 21 queries on the project. The questions that have been addressed to TRIPP are as follows:
  1. Please confirm that a cycle/manually driven vehicle track will be created all along the length of the corridor under construction now.
  2. Has there been any audit on the number of trees uprooted during this construction phase along the corridor.
  3. Has any agency conducted a study on the impact of the concretization of walkways resulting in no room left for loose earth for trees still existing along the route.
  4. Which International agencies were consulted on this project, their contacts, email and name of group heads etc in full detail?
  5. Were these agencies paid, or did they offer their expertise gratis, and if paid, how much?
  6. Were any of the technical plans, the implementation details developed by any international agency, contractor or not? If yes, who, and their contacts.
  7. Please list the countries and cities where similar systems have been running successfully for at least five years as of today: name the projects, the companies or boards running the systems and the details of developing and contracting agencies of such successful models.
  8. Have any specifics been firmed up on the quality of buses that would run along this corridor, the fare structure, the numbers of buses required to be procured for efficient functioning of such a system, a matrix of driver caliber and other indices required to facilitate such a project.
  9. Has the project concurrently planned restrictions on car and independent vehicle usage to balance the development of the HCBS or not and what has the Government to say on this.
  10. What was the effective brief/ objective provided to TRIPP/yourselves/agency developing the plan by the Government. Please forward a copy of the original tender/contract terms or restate the objective in exact fashion in reply.
  11. In view of the common failure of traffic lights and frequent breakdown of traffic maintenance at crossroads, what safeguards have been developed under this project to ensure that a traffic pile up of buses does not occur leading to choking of the corridor, the crossings and subsequently the entire road stretch.
  12. How many breakdown galleys/pits have been provided along the length of this corridor, at what distance from each other in the event of a bus breakdown, and what apparatus will be put on stand by to remove such a bus that is stuck on the corridor, and what response time shave been allowed as within tolerance for such accidents.
  13. In the event of an emergency situation, such as an untoward accident, a bus fire, a pile up or other similar situations, what are the project plans for an ambulance to reach or service the situation.
  14. Moving over 85% of the vehicular traffic within 50% of the current road length will expectedly narrow down overtaking options for fast moving vehicles and also limit speed [ your claims and calculations for improvement in traffic throughput after the project is activated is found wanting on many counts, so pl. ignore that aspect in answering this question] How does the project factor in the need for emergency services like Police vehicles, VIP movement and Ambulance movement should it be necessitated along the corridor or around it.
  15. Allocating cycle tracks that constitute one fourth of road space for 3.5% of road usage being difficult to understand, please furnish precise data of cyclist concentration at various points during the day along the corridor route with any evidence of average distance covered by cyclists from start to finish on a daily run basis.
  16. Similarly, please furnish data for hand drawn, other non-mechanical vehicles in the manner above.
  17. In one of the objects mentioned somewhere in your many presentations, it was represented that the HCBS would not be duplicating metro routing but supplement it. Knowing that the GK–I to Lodhi corridor is along the metro line, please specify in which portions of the Ambedkar Ngr. – ISBT corridor is the HCBS not duplicating the Metro route and exactly where it supplements it?
  18. Along the corridor, opposite GK-I is a school called the Indian School, where parents of wards and school buses pick up children off the road causing a huge jam. Will the schools be shifted, or another area provided to it for alighting and boarding school buses and private vehicles of parents, wards etc after the HCBS is operational?
  19. In various presentations on the HCBS system worldwide the emphasis is on it being a total system. Clearly this was not implemented in the case of Delhi which is doing this in relay fashion and one length will have to wait for all others before the ‘system’ emerges. Why?
  20. It is repeatedly also stressed that being a system, the HCBS will require an autonomous body to run it, unless of course you propose the DTC to run it. What body is this, has it been constituted or not – basically who will run the HCBS, if and when it is ready.
  21. In many comments by TRIPP members, the HCBS is posited as the better alternative to expensive metros suggesting it costs less time, is flexible and is ready in mush shorter durations. Is the HCBS corridor on schedule, and if no when will it be ready for use?