Delhi rolls out its first electric bus

First bus to be added to the DTC fleet since 2011; 300 more to be inducted soon

January 18, 2022 01:15 am | Updated 01:15 am IST - New Delhi

Arvind Kejriwal flags off the e-bus in Delhi on Monday.

Arvind Kejriwal flags off the e-bus in Delhi on Monday.

The Capital got its first electric bus here on Monday. Procured by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), the bus is the first and only addition to the public transporter’s fleet in over a decade.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flagged off the bus at the DTC’s Indraprastha Depot. Over 300 more such vehicles will be inducted in a phased manner in the near future. According to government estimates, a fleet of around 11,000 buses is required in the city, but only about 6,900 buses, including low-floor and standard-floor ones, currently ply on the Capital’s roads.

The new bus will ply on route no. E 44 and will be available from 5.30 a.m. to 8.20 p.m. from the Indraprastha Depot. It will be operated as a circular bus service.

The route will begin from the DTC’s IP Depot and include ITO, AGCR, Tilak Marg, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place, Janpath, Rajesh Pilot Marg and Prithviraj Road.

It will also ply via Aurobindo Marg, AIIMS, Ring Road, South Extension, Ashram, Bhogal, Jangpura, India Gate, High Court and Pragati Maidan before terminating at IP Depot.

The government is in the process of adding 450 buses to the cluster scheme under which public buses run as a joint venture between the government and private operators who own these buses. On Friday, Mr. Kejriwal had flagged off 100 buses.

The government said it would soon induct 300 electric buses in the cluster fleet and over 2,000 new electric buses in the DTC fleet. Before Monday, no new bus had been added to the DTC fleet since 2011.

“Today the Delhi government has dedicated the State’s first electric bus to the public. This marks the beginning of a new era in Delhi’s transport sector. As and when older buses are rolled out of service, new electric buses will be added,” Mr. Kejriwal said. “This is a very important step in combating the problem of pollution. This is a zero emission bus and there’s barely any noise made by it,” he said.

By April, according to the Chief Minister, 300 electric buses would be running on Delhi’s streets with the Government’s final goal being the procurement of 2,000 electric buses in the coming years.

The bus inducted on Monday can be charged within one to one and a half hours on a fast charger and run for a minimum of 120 km on one charge.

According to the government, the complete fleet of 300 electric buses will run from Mundela Kalan (100 buses), Rajghat (50) and Rohini Sector 37 (150 buses).

These buses have kneeling ramps for differently abled passengers, and special pink seats for women passengers and are equipped with CCTV cameras, connected to a 2-way Central Command and Control Centre (CCC) at Kashmere Gate, 10 panic buttons in each bus and a hooter.

The Opposition took the opportunity to attack the AAP government over its failure to induct even a single bus since its formation.

North-east Delhi BJP MP Manoj Tiwari said the Government had procured the bus only for “demo and publicity purposes.” Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the procurement of a single bus was not an occasion for celebration.

“I wish Delhi had 11,000 buses – 6,000 electric and 5,000 – so that the citizens of the city were breathing cleaner air right now. This is what happens when a department-less Chief Minister runs a visionless government,” Mr. Tiwari said.

“In 2017, the Centre had proposed to provide 100 electric buses to the Delhi government and a budget was also approved for this; but the Delhi Government did not take those buses. Now, after five years, the Delhi government is considering itself blessed by running just one such bus,” Mr. Bidhuri said.

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