Riding home in the air-conditioned comfort of a gleaming red bus, I find it hard to believe I am travelling in New Delhi.

busnew.jpgSqueaky-clean seats, no crowds jostling for room, automatic doors and huge windows offering panoramic views of the bustling streets — it’s a far cry from the torture I have endured in the past.

Buses in India’s capital are not known for being commuter-friendly. The state-owned ones are mostly rickety slowcoaches while the privately operated Blue Line buses zigzag their way through traffic, dangerously negotiating bends and racing each other in a bid to pick up passengers.

Their abysmal safety record led to calls for banning the “killer buses” but with the city dependent on CNG-fuelled public transport to counter the rising number of petrol- and diesel-powered cars, an alternative was needed and fast.

With a state-of-the-art subway already in place and expanding, a revamped public bus transport system could further showcase the city’s potential as it gears up to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games.