Shuttle services in Delhi, which had been temporarily halted after the Transport Department had raised concerns about their legality, can breathe a sigh of relief. The Delhi government appears to be softening its tone on these services, with the Vice Chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission calling them “completely legal.”
The commission, which held several rounds of consultations with stakeholders as well as transport department officials before formulating the draft policy, feels that bus aggregators are not breaking any laws. “We feel that bus aggregation is permissible under the existing contract carriage regime, provided the transport department interprets the law correctly,” said Ashish Khaitan Vice Chairman.
The bus aggregators will be covered under a section under the contract carriage permit system that considers vehicles that are “hired” to go from point A to B without dropping or picking up passengers on the way. An important condition is that the operators know the people being carried and have entered into a contract with them. Existing shuttle services fulfill both these requirements.
The government’s changing stance on these shuttle services is an interesting fallout of the odd-even rule. Faced with public pressure to provide transport options, mass transport systems have suddenly become a priority, and its likely that governmental action will be swift. “Restricting the use of private cars to decrease pollution levels can be successful with alternative commuting options, such as shuttle services,” said Khaitan.
Shuttle services are also benefiting from the rule. Shuttl, one of the aggregators running in the region, has seen a 40-50% rise in ridership since the odd even policy was implemented. Other aggregators running in the area are ZipGo, which runs a women-only bus in the region, and Ola Shuttle.