After HC nod, BEST to acquire 20 electric buses by June-end

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will most likely induct 20 electric buses by the end of June. The transport undertaking has received a nod from the Bombay High Court to procure 80 electric buses on wet lease.

“We have managed to place an order for these electric buses. We should get 25% of the order within three months and the remaining in six months,” Surendrakumar Bagde, general manager, BEST, said.

The estimated cost of the 80 buses will be around ₹90 crore. The BEST will get a subsidy of ₹54 crore under the faster adoption and manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles scheme of the department of heavy industries. The remaining ₹36 crore will be funded via wet leasing the buses, wherein a contractor would be appointed to run these buses, and would provide the drivers for the vehicles.

The BEST has six electric mini buses at present, which can cover 200 km in a single charge and can carry 31 passengers. BEST officials said the running cost of the electric buses is around ₹9 per km, much less than the running costs of CNG and diesel buses.

The BEST administration came under flak at the BEST committee meeting on Monday for scrapping 64 single-decker buses for a paltry ₹2.35 crore. “These buses are being scrapped at one go at paltry sums and with meagre profits. The administration should try to retain whatever functional parts of these buses, which can be used as spares,” Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member, said.

The BEST’s fleet has been steadily declining over the past few years and currently stands at 3,300 buses. The administration, in the 2019-2020 budget, had proposed to have a fleet of 4,050 buses by 2020.

Corporators also criticised the administration for the manner in which the intelligent transport management system is being implemented. Committee member Ravi Raja alleged that he had documents to prove that the contractor had not furnished the requisite information which was in a violation of the tender process. Mr. Bagde said they will review the documents and initiate an inquiry if required.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 3:04:09 AM |

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