Now, KSRTC decides to cancel electric bus tenders

The wait for eco-friendly friendly buses to operate in Bengaluru and other parts of the State has become longer.

Following in the footsteps of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has decided to cancel the tender it had floated to lease and operate e-buses. The Board took this decision after a bidder quoted exorbitant operational costs.

KSRTC Managing Director Shivayogi C. Kalasad told The Hindu that fresh tenders will be floated in a few days. “The operational cost quoted by the single bidder was not sustainable for the corporation. Despite negotiations, the bidder failed to lower the price. It was decided to float fresh tenders to get competitive pricing,” he said.

KSRTC plans to operate e-buses on inter-city routes such as Bengaluru to Mysuru, Bengaluru to Tumakuru, and Bengaluru to Shivamogga, among others.

“There were various parameters to fix an operational cost. Every day, one bus has to be operated for a distance of minimum 400 km. A single charging bus has to cover a distance of 250 km. In addition to this, other factors such as electricity and infrastructure provided to operate the buses will be considered. The previous bidder quoted over ₹65 per kilometre and we felt it is at the higher end. In other States, prices quoted were lesser than this. We are hoping that in the fresh tenders, there will be more bidders,” said Mr. Kalasad.

According to a senior KSRTC official, who did not want to be named, road transport corporations in the State are in financial distress owing to growing operational costs. “Electric buses are still new to our country and the cost involved in procurement and maintenance is huge,” he said.

The Board of North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC), too, will take a final call on whether to continue with the existing bidding or go for a new one.

Under the Centre’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME India II scheme), the BMTC had planned to lease 300 e-buses from private operators. KSRTC and NWKRTC were to lease 50 e-buses each.

The Union government will provide a subsidy of ₹55 lakh for each of the 12-m buses that will be leased by BMTC and KSRTC, while the NWKRTC is likely to operate 9-m buses and will get ₹45 lakh subsidy. The BMTC and KSRTC have already written to the Centre to extend the dates to avail the subsidy.

As per the Centre’s scheme, subsidy will be transferred to the private operator. “The operator has to quote the operational price that the corporations will bear. The corporation has to look into financial viability before agreeing to the operational expenditure,” the senior KSRTC official said.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 1:41:59 AM |

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