On the lines of app-based taxi services, Delhiites will now be able to book their seats in buses through their smartphones from June with the AAP government today announcing Premium Bus Service aimed at encouraging cars users to use public transport.
Only air-conditioned buses will ply under the scheme according to which one bus aggregator will have to run at lease 50 vehicles to get a licence from the Delhi government's Transport department.
Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said that bus aggregators will have an individual app like Ola, Uber and they will be allowed to decide their fares, but if need arises government will prescribe upper limit of fares or take steps to check predatory pricing. He said the decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
With government giving green signal to new bus service based on mobile application, Ola and Uber, which are facing criticism for surge pricing during the second phase of odd-even scheme, may also enter into new business and run app-based bus services as well in the national capital.
Ola and Uber whoever fulfill all conditions of the permits can run 'Premium Bus Service'. Government has made compulsory installation of two CCTV cameras, wi-fi and GPS in each bus to be plied under new service. In view of women safety, bus aggregators will have to ensure panic button in their apps, he said, adding that the registration of such buses will start from June 1.
As per new policy, bus aggregators will determine the routes on which Premimum buses will ply from time to time and specify such routes along with the time schedule of each trip on its web-based application.
Transport minister further said,
App users will be required to find buses going towards their destination and thereafter they can book their seat through their phone. Five minutes before the departure, bus aggregators will have to freeze bookings and display a list of passengers. Drivers of the vehicle can not allow other passengers in the way who have not booked their seats.
After accepting the booking of a passenger, aggregators can not cancel the service except upon occurrence of break-down and in that case, companies will have to refund passenger no less than twice the amount they received from the affected passengers.
If bus aggregator cancel booking other then reason of break-down and force majeure, they will have to pay ten times the amount the fare received, he said.