‘No point getting low-floor buses if stops, roads are not disabled-friendly’

The Delhi High Court on Monday came down heavily on the city government for its “blinkered” approach to disabled-friendly public transportation in the Capital, saying procurement of low-floor buses will not help if bus stops and pavements are inaccessible.

“Such a blinkered approach. What is the point of getting low-floor buses (LFBs), if roads, pavements and bus stops are not disabled friendly,” a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar said.

The court’s observation came as the Delhi government said it was going to get 500 LFBs soon, as part of the first batch of the proposed procurement of 2,000 such vehicles, and was also exploring the possibility of installing mechanical lifts in standard-floor buses (SFBs) to enable wheelchair-borne passengers to board them. The government said there was a “dire need” for the buses and therefore, it needed permission to procure of 1,000 electric SFBs, for which tenders were issued and successful bidders were finalised.

The High Court, on June 1, had put on hold the procurement of SFBs.

The Delhi government told the court that it spoke to Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, which were manufacturing the SFBs, about installing lifts in the buses, and a prototype would be ready by September this year at an additional cost of about Rs. 3-5 lakh per bus.

The court, however, said: “Why not consider a global tender? Your tenders are so unworkable. Why not change that?”

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