‘Eco-friendly’ electric buses to hit the roads in six months

The much-fancied electric buses will hit the city roads in six months, with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation inking a deal with Hyderabad-based Goldstone to initially run 40 buses.

Goldstone emerged as the lowest bidder in the Request For Proposal (RFP) that the BMTC had called in December.

The terms of the RFP stated that the successful bidder should deploy 150 electric buses. The BMTC would pay the company on expenses per kilometre for each bus, besides employing a conductor.

The company would bear all operational expenses, maintenance and infrastructure for charging the vehicles.

Corporation relieved

The BMTC described the outsourcing as “good” as it gets the best of services without having to agonise over the functional aspects of the service.

“Well pay Rs 37.50 to the operator for each kilometre for a bus,” said BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj.

“Well also pay an additional Rs 17 for power and deploying a conductor. In total, expenses for a kilometre for a bus would be about Rs 55,” he added.

Ponnuraj said the BMTC has got a better deal compared to two other transport corporations. The BMTC has plans to introduce the buses on the Outer Ring Road routes where Vajra buses currently earn Rs 62 on an average or the airport route that collects slightly more.

As it struggles to operate the Volvo buses, whose costs touched Rs 70 per kilometre following skyrocketing diesel prices, outsourcing the electric buses seemed prudent.

The corporation will pay the power bill, which is cheaper than diesel, as the onus of running the service right from maintenance to charging infrastructure will be on the private company.

“Weve asked for 35-seater buses with facilities similar to the Volvo. The details will be finalised in the coming weeks,” said a senior BMTC official.

Ponnuraj also said the remaining 110 buses will be deployed depending on assistance from the Centre. “Well decide on subsidising the remaining buses in the next few days,” he said.

Plant in Bidar

Under the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme, the Centre will give Rs 1 crore subsidy to BMTC, which will turn it over to Goldstone. The company has recently entered a joint venture with Chinas electric vehicles major BYD to set up a manufacturing plant in Bidar.

The exorbitant price tag on each vehicle was another major factor that nudged the BMTC towards outsourcing the service. “Buses fitting our requirements cost Rs 2.6 to Rs 2.8 crore,” an official pointed out. “We cant afford such an investment.”

The much-fancied electric buses will hit the city roads in six months, with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation inking a deal with Hyderabad-based Goldstone to initially run 40 buses.

Goldstone emerged as the lowest bidder in the Request For Proposal (RFP) that the BMTC had called in December.

The terms of the RFP stated that the successful bidder should deploy 150 electric buses. The BMTC would pay the company on expenses per kilometre for each bus, besides employing a conductor.

The company would bear all operational expenses, maintenance and infrastructure for charging the vehicles.

Corporation relieved

The BMTC described the outsourcing as “good” as it gets the best of services without having to agonise over the functional aspects of the service.

“We’ll pay Rs 37.50 to the operator for each kilometre for a bus,” said BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj.

“We’ll also pay an additional Rs 17 for power and deploying a conductor. In total, expenses for a kilometre for a bus would be about Rs 55,” he added.

Ponnuraj said the BMTC has got a better deal compared to two other transport corporations. The BMTC has plans to introduce the buses on the Outer Ring Road routes where Vajra buses currently earn Rs 62 on an average or the airport route that collects slightly more.

As it struggles to operate the Volvo buses, whose costs touched Rs 70 per kilometre following skyrocketing diesel prices, outsourcing the electric buses seemed prudent.

The corporation will pay the power bill, which is cheaper than diesel, as the onus of running the service right from maintenance to charging infrastructure will be on the private company.

“We’ve asked for 35-seater buses with facilities similar to the Volvo. The details will be finalised in the coming weeks,” said a senior BMTC official.

Ponnuraj also said the remaining 110 buses will be deployed depending on assistance from the Centre. “We’ll decide on subsidising the remaining buses in the next few days,” he said.

Plant in Bidar

Under the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles) scheme, the Centre will give Rs 1 crore subsidy to BMTC, which will turn it over to Goldstone. The company has recently entered a joint venture with China’s electric vehicles major BYD to set up a manufacturing plant in Bidar.

The exorbitant price tag on each vehicle was another major factor that nudged the BMTC towards outsourcing the service. “Buses fitting our requirements cost Rs 2.6 to Rs 2.8 crore,” an official pointed out. “We can’t afford such an investment.”

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