Nearly 30 buses running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) were recently converted to diesel buses at a cost of Rs. 15,000 per bus

The APSRTC’s plans to go green by operating CNG buses in the capital seem to be falling by the wayside with the gas in short supply.

Nearly 30 buses running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) were recently converted to diesel buses at a cost of Rs. 15,000 per bus. The RTC had introduced these buses on the city’s roads in 2012, purchasing each at a cost of Rs. 20 lakh. Presently, the RTC is operating 130 CNG buses on different routes from the Medchal, Cantonment and Hakimpet depots.

Unlikely target

Initially, the plan was to have close to 350 CNG buses this year but authorities now appear to have shelved the plans.

Each bus requires about 80 kgs of gas a day but the Bhagyanagar Gas Corporation Limited (BGCL) is unable to supply the required quantity of the gas, concedes a senior official.

“We need at least 10,000 kgs everyday but BGCL supplies only about 6,000 kgs. We have been writing to them to raise supply but citing poor production and other issues, they are unable to do so,” he says.

Better buses

On the performance front, these buses are much better than the conventional diesel buses. Pollution emission levels are much lesser when compared to diesel buses and drivers report better comfort, he explains.

The RTC purchases CNG at a cost of Rs. 36 per kg. The earning per kilometre (EPK) of CNG buses is Rs. 2 higher than the diesel buses, the official says.

“We would prefer operating CNG buses over diesel buses any day as maintenance, expenditure and other factors are very much under permissible levels,” he adds.

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