Exclusive: In Sharp Contrast To Bangalore, Delhi Officially Gives Green Signal To Shuttle Operators

In a landmark move, the Delhi government has officially released a policy allowing private bus players to ply in Delhi-NCR area.


Zipgo’s launch in New Delhi in Dec. 2015 | Image: OfficeChai
The policy attributes the “dangerously rising” pollution levels in the city and growing dependence on private vehicles as the reason for the new policy that allows for private players in the buses segment.
Delhi govt policy on private bus
image: OfficeChai
The policy stipulates that for such services to run, a minimum of 50 AC buses in the fleet are required.  Also, in a progressive move, the policy states that the “the fares of these buses shall not be regulated or subsidized by the government and may therefore be market determined.”. This point ironically runs in contrast with the recent crackdown on surge pricing by Ola and Uber, also at the behest of Delhi government.
delhi shuttle bus policy
Image: OfficeChai

2015 saw the entry of many private shuttle operators like Shuttl and Zipgo that provide on-demand, app-based shuttle services. These services purported to fill the gaps of public transport like unreliability, lack of choosing pick and drop points and the guarantee of a seat, and looked to provide a superior private transport experience in a semi public transport setting.

Despite being welcomed by the public, Shuttl and Zipgo have been playing a cat and the mouse game with the authorities. Thanks to there being no official policy around their business models, they’ve suspended operations several times, only to start them again. According to the RTA Office Gurgaon, shuttle services couldn’t operate in the city as they don’t fall in the ambit of the Haryana Contract Carriage Permit Act.

Things were worse in Bangalore. Zipgo, which had first launched in the city, had several of its vehicles seized by transport authorities. Services were discontinued many times, once even leading to an appeal by its founders and a subsequent petition by the citizens to be allowed to run. Ola too had tried to launch shuttle services in the city, but after to the government’s intervention, now plies its shuttles only across designated private tech parks.

However, the latest move by Delhi government expressly gives the green signal to both Shuttl and Zipgo and other similar transport players to run and grow the operations in the Delhi NCR region, ending the uncertainty of the last few months.

Whether the Bangalore government will follow in Delhi’s heels, only time will tell. But the thousands of commuters in Bangalore needing similar services would be watching developments in the area very closely.