City moves a step closer to electric buses

Two depots identified to accommodate 200 buses and provide charging facilities

January 24, 2018 12:47 am | Updated 12:47 am IST - New Delhi

The Transport Department has taken the first step towards the creation of a fleet of low-floor electric buses to augment public transportation in the Capital. These, according to Delhi government insiders, could be rolled out for commuters by the end of the current year.

Two depots have been identified to accommodate and provide charging facilities for around 200 electric buses even as modalities related to floating a tender for their procurement are in the process of being finalised, said sources.

“We have identified two locations, one each at East Vinod Nagar and Bawana, which will be equipped with 11 KV sub-stations to provide charging facilities for the buses. The plan, initially, was to procure around 100 such vehicles but it has now been decided to induct around 200 low-floor buses,” said a source.

Cost-benefit analysis

A cost-benefit analysis in relation to the buses once they begin operating, the source added, would be an ongoing exercise commencing as soon as they are rolled out. “The Department is in the process of fine-tuning details related to the tendering process. Once the buses, which will arrive in batches, become operational, it is intended that around 50 buses will be added in phases,” the source added.

In November last year, following Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s directions, the Delhi government had announced it was looking to induct 500 electric buses under both the Delhi Transport Corporation as well as the Cluster Scheme.

The decision came after a nudge from the Centre which, according to Delhi government insiders, is “in favour of electric buses” and is “willing to offer suitable financial subsidies” to State governments.

The substantial price tag on such vehicles is a major concern in addition to issues related to availability of requisite infrastructure for charging and maintenance, said the Delhi government..

The first electric bus was introduced in the city on a trial basis in March 2016. It is managed by the DTC and plies between the Delhi Secretariat and Central Secretariat. The bus was provided by a Chinese firm, which had developed it.

The bus had an operating cost of around ₹12 per km in comparison to ₹18 per km for CNG-run, DTC low-floor bus.

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