The city will have to wait for an electric bus fleet even as six other cities are set to get 525 electric buses in the first phase of the roll-out.
The State Transport Department has floated tenders and is waiting to finalise and award the contract soon for purchasing the 525 electric buses under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme.
Request to Centre
While Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Madurai will get 100 buses each, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), the sole operator in the city, has missed out on the opportunity.
“The State government has requested the Central government to allot 500 electric buses under the FAME 2 scheme for Chennai. We expect around 300 e-buses to be allotted soon,” said a senior official in the Transport Department.
At present, one electric bus from Ashok Leyland plies on the city roads, from Central station to Thiruvanmiyur (route no. A1), on a trial basis, he added.
Though no electric buses have been allotted to MTC under the FAME scheme, the State government will be purchasing 500 electric and 2,213 Bharat Stage VI buses, at a cost of ₹1,580 crore, through funding from KfW of Germany.
“Of the 500 e-buses, 100 e-buses have been allotted for MTC,” the official said. The agreement between the State government and KfW, signed on September 26, envisages the funding for the purchase of a total of 10,000 new buses, with BS VI engines, and 2,000 electric buses in the long run.
The tender for selecting the operator for the 525 e-buses has been floated by the Institute of Road Transport (IRT). The tender, calling for ‘Supply and operation of electric buses on gross cost contract (GCC)basis for State Transport Corporations (STCs)’, closes on November 28.
The city-wise breakup of the 525 e-buses allotted is: Coimbatore 100, Tiruchi 100, Madurai 100, Erode 50, Tiruppur 50, Salem 50, Vellore 50 and Thanjavur 25. The Department of Heavy Industry aims to improve the air quality in various cities by funding e-buses through the Fame India Phase II policy.
Progress on the procurement of electric buses and other issues were part of the agenda of a board meeting held in the Secretariat from November 18 to 22.
The meeting, chaired by Transport Secretary B. Chandramohan, saw senior officials of the eight STCs, including MTC, discussing subjects like revenue augmentation, improvement of passenger growth, modernisation of bus depots, scrapping of old buses, and issues of non-payment of pension and financial position.