The Delhi Government has given the green light to premium bus services based on mobile apps, to encourage car users to use public transport, reports YourStory. The initiative is aimed to support Delhi’s odd-even scheme to reduce pollution in the city.

The app-based platform will let users book seats in the bus up to 5 minutes before departure, post which buses have to freeze bookings and display the list of passengers. As per the new policy, cab aggregators like Ola and Uber can also apply for the bus permit. Companies will need to install 2 CCTV cameras, WiFi and GPS in each bus other than providing a panic button on their apps, to get a permit. The registrations of such buses will start from the 1st of June.

The bus aggregators will be free to determine the route they want to take and the schedule of the trip, although they will not be allowed to cancel once bookings are made. If bookings are cancelled for reasons other than break-down or other unavoidable circumstances, aggregators will have to pay back ten times the amount of the fare received.

Public transport bottlenecks: In February the Delhi Government had stated that it would impose the next phase of the odd-even formula for cars from 15-30 April 2016, after the state board exams are over. At the time, CM Kejriwal said that unless public transport was fixed, the odd even rule could not be imposed on the 30-40 lakh bikes in the city. By offering bus aggregator license, the Delhi Government could help address the current public transport bottlenecks.

Note that, at the time, the government had said that it would also increase the number of buses and make private contracts with bus providers to make the total number of available buses at 5,000. This will also include 300 school buses in their off-duty times.

Amendment to Motor Vehicles Act: The Union Budget of 2016 announced that The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (MVA) was going to be amended to include the private sector in the passenger vehicle segment of road transport. It would also get rid of the permit law in public transport, which currently requires bus operators to get yearly permits to operate them, including a single district permit, permits for other districts and an all India permit.

Image source: Ramesh NG under CC BY-SA 2.0