In a green milestone, the first fleet of electric buses and BS-VI diesel standard buses hit the city’s road on Monday. With this, the long wait for green public transport of seven years has come to an end.
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai flagged off the State’s first batch of these buses deployed on a long-term basis on Monday morning and the buses hit the streets making their maiden trips later in the day.
“I was pleasantly surprised to find electric buses at Kengeri and was happy to be part of its first trip. The ride was very comfortable,” said Sugnana Murthy, who rode from Kengeri to Banashankari.
Describing it as a major green initiative, Mr. Bommai said the Government was keen on augmenting pollution-mitigating measures. He also stressed on the need for Road Transport Corporations and Electricity Supply Companies to revitalise their functioning, cut down on all financial expenditure and become “financially self-sustaining”.
Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation plans to induct 300 electric buses and 565 BS-VI diesel buses, of which 40 electric buses and 150 BS-VI buses have been delivered already. The rest will be added to the fleet in phases — 50 more e-buses in January 2022 and the rest of the BS-VI buses in February 2022.
The electric buses of zero emission norm funded under the Bengaluru smart city scheme will be operated as metro feeder services as both first and last mile connectivity, BMTC said in a statement.
“These buses are non-AC, 9 metre long with 33+1 seats, vehicle tracking units, CCTV, LED route-display boards and emergency panic button for promoting passenger safety”, BMTC said.
BMTC has entered into an agreement with M/s. NTPC Vyapar Vidyut Nigam Limited, a Government of India undertaking, which will operate these buses for 10 years on Gross Cost Contract model at a rate of ₹51.67 per km with electricity for 180 assured kilometres daily.
Of the 90 buses in phase I, 40 have been delivered and the rest will be delivered by January 2022.
The 90 buses will be operated from Yeshwantpur, K.R. Puram and Kengeri depots. On Monday, six buses plied between Kengeri and Banashankari, Electronics City and Chikkabanvara, BMTC said.
The BS-VI buses, being procured with a financial assistance of ₹191 crore from the State Government, have 41+1 seats with emergency panic button, rear air suspension and LED route display boards. These buses will be deployed for replacement of old buses and augmentation of schedules.