Karnataka switches to ‘electric mode’, to run 1,500 e-buses in next 3 years

The government has decided to replace the scrapped buses with e-buses.

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is all set to acquire 1,500 electric buses (E-buses) in the next three years to ply in the state capital. The transport department is including a fleet of 390 electrical buses this year.

The government has decided to replace the scrapped buses with e-buses. Every year as many as 400 buses are scrapped in the state.

Along with the push from the Central government, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) considering the increasing pollution levels and skyrocketing fuel prices have decided to acquire e-buses.

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As part of the larger scheme, a mini electrical bus acquired under Smart City Project will be plied in Bengaluru on an experiment basis. As many as 90 buses will be added to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Corporation (BMTC) in a phased manner by November. Chief Minister Basavarj Bommai will inaugurate the services, Transport Minister B. Sriramulu explained.

These 90 buses will be acquired under the Smart City project at a cost of Rs 50 crore. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will take care of the maintenance of these buses for 10 years. BMTC will pay Rs 51.62 per kilometre. The cost of the driver, maintenance and charging will be borne by NTPC. The transport department has also signed an agreement to ply Electric buses for a minimum of 180 kilometres per day as Metro feeder service in Bengaluru.

The buses need to be charged after plying 120 kilometres and it will take 45 minutes for a bus to complete charging. Presently, the electric bus will be put into service at Metro stations in Bengaluru to different locations.

Sriramulu explained that the electric bus experiment is being done for the first time in the state. These vehicles are a necessity to avoid pollution. In the month of November, 90 mini electric buses (9 meters long) will be put into service and these buses can run on narrow roads of the city.

The BMTC board is also considering the purchase of 300 electric buses (12 meters long). A decision in this regard will be taken soon, Sriramulu added.

Rajendra Kumar Kataria, the Principal Secretary to Transport department said, e-bus ticket prices will be lesser than the normal buses. Mainly, there will not be noise pollution and the emission of smoke. The BMTC will acquire 90 e-buses in the first phase and 300 buses in the second phase.

The Central government is encouraged to bring about “electric culture” in the public transport system under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (Fame-2) project in 9 cities. They have asked for the list of the required number of buses. In the coming three years there will be a bid for 1,500 buses. Every year 600 e-buses will be added to the transport and about 30 to 40 per cent of people would be commuting through e-buses, he explained.

Under the Fame-1 scheme, e-bus services within the city will be provided. In the second phase (Fame -2) it has been agreed to start intercity e-bus services, he said.

BMTC Managing Director Anbukumar explained that the cost of a diesel bus is Rs 30 lakh and e-bus would cost Rs 90 lakh. Smart City project funds have been utilised. Since BMTC does not have the experience, the company has been asked to look after the maintenance of these buses. Every year as many as 400 buses are being scrapped and they will be replaced with e-buses.

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