Kochi

Private bus operators in Kochi keen to retrofit CNG, LNG kits in vehicles

The first commercial LNG bus at Puthuvype LNG terminal recently.  

In their eagerness to resume services, which were halted in March, in a feasible manner, private bus operators have demanded that the State government provide subsidy to convert to compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel source and also Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) loans at low interest rate.

Around 400 of the total 1,000 buses that operated in city and mofussil routes are keen to retrofit CNG/LNG kits to rein in operational cost, since the non-fossil fuels cost 25% to 30% less than diesel. Even as they increased fuel efficiency by approximately 25%, they caused less wear and tear and polluted much lesser than diesel-run buses, according to bus operators.

“Less than 250 of the total 1,000 private buses that operated in the city are in service now due to low patronage. The State government must enable bus operators to avail loans from KIIFB at 4% interest rate. It must also incentivise retrofitment of kits of alternative fuels by providing 30% subsidy, routed through KMTA [Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority],” said K.M. Navas of Kochi Smart Bus Consortium, a conclave of seven bus companies that own the 1,000 buses.

While the city has half a dozen CNG-vending outlets, the sole LNG outlet remains confined to Puthuvype, where the LNG terminal is located. Faced with depleting revenue, bus operators have for long been demanding opening of LNG outlets in the city as well.

Sources associated with the LNG terminal said the “send out” from the ₹4,000-crore terminal was around 15% and the State government earned ₹400 crore as VAT from this. “It can perform optimally if buses opt for LNG as fuel and if the government mandates that factories in the State rely on the gas rather than polluting fuels and furnace oils. Petrol vehicles can lessen fuel expense by over 40% and diesel vehicles by over 20% if they shift to CNG or LNG,” said the sources.

The LNG terminal had rolled out a pair of LNG-run buses to ferry its employees. The 32-seater buses are getting fuel efficiency of 6 km per kg, it is learnt.

City buses that run on CNG are a cost effective option, since those which run 250 km daily save on fuel bill by ₹1,250, according to Geo John Palatty, managing director of Metro Fuels, Edappally, which retrofitted CNG kits in a pair of private buses recently. LNG was a good option for buses that operated 500 km or more daily, he added.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 3:37:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/private-bus-operators-in-kochi-keen-to-retrofit-cng-lng-kits-in-vehicles/article33111267.ece

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