No electric buses this year for Bengaluru

Tendering process delayed yet again; and this time owing to the bypolls to the Legislative Assembly, say authorities

Despite Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s (BMTC) hopes, electric buses will not be rolled out in the city by the end of 2019. This time, the authorities have cited the bypolls as the reason for the delay. This is the second time that the deadline for the operation of the fleet on a lease-based model has been extended.

After missing the deadline last year for the Central subsidy, the BMTC, in 2019, applied under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME India II scheme) with the aim of leasing and operating 300 electric buses from a private company. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) were to lease 50 e-buses each.

Initially, the Centre had set November 15 as the deadline to issue the letter to the successful bidder. Due to technical snags in E-procurement portal, neither the BMTC nor the other corporations could complete the tender process on time. After their request, the Centre extended the deadline till December 15. Officials said that due to the bypoll in 15 Assembly constituencies, the process could be not completed.

C. Shikha, MD, BMTC, said, “Due to bypolls, we have approached the Centre seeking an extension. We are currently scrutinising the tender documents and process will be completed before January 15, 2020.”

This will be the first time that electric buses will be operated in the State on such a large scale. However, the response received for the project from private manufacturers has been poor, said officials. The BMTC received bids from just two companies, while KSRTC and NWKRTC received bids from only one company.

An official of the corporation said “The e-bus technology is new to our country and there are very manufacturers. This could be one of the reasons for the poor response. Other corporations in the country, too, have floated tenders for the project at almost the same time that we did. As per the terms, they have to provide buses in a stipulated time, which could also be why we didn’t get more bids.”

BMTC and KSRTC will get 12m buses, for which a subsidy of ₹55 lakh will be provided under FAME India II. NWKRTC is likely to operate 9m buses and will get a ₹45 lakh subsidy.

The subsidy availed from the Centre will be transferred to the private company and Corporations will not invest any money to operate the buses.

The BMTC has plans to operate buses on ORR, IT Corridors andthe priority lane on Outer Ring Road from Silk Board to Tin Factory. The KSRTC is planning to introduce the services on routes like Bengaluru-Mysuru, Bengaluru-Tumakuru, Bengaluru-Shivamogga and others, while the NWKRTC is likely to introduce e-bus services between Hubballi and Dharwad.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 6:38:20 PM |

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