Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation to operate 90 e-buses under Smart City project
If all goes as planned, commuters will not have to shell out extra money when the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) introduces non-air-conditioned electric buses into its fleet. The fare in non-AC e-buses will be on par with ordinary buses.
The BMTC is likely to issue work orders within two weeks to lease e-buses under the Smart City Project. NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. won the tender for leasing 90 non-AC e-buses, which will be operated as feeder services to Namma Metro.
The buses will be nine metres long with 31 seats. A BMTC official said that such short-length buses are ideal for providing feeder services. “They can be operated on small roads, especially from residential areas to metro stations,” said the official.
BMTC Director (Information Technology) K. Santhosh Babu told The Hindu that the operator will provide 45 buses within three months after issuing work orders. “Necessary approval has been sought from the government on awarding the tender. We are likely to complete formalities within two weeks. The operator will provide all the buses in a six-month period. Under the Smart City project, these buses will be run as feeder services,” Mr. Babu said.
As per the tender details, the BMTC will provide ₹51 per kilometre as operational cost to the operator. The operational cost includes power consumption cost. Mr. Babu added that the operational cost quoted by the lowest bidder is ‘feasible’ for the Corporation.
The BMTC has been operating metro feeder service since 2011, but so far, ridership has not been promising on all the routes due to various factors. For instance, most of the metro stations built under Phase I of Namma Metro do not have bus bays, and buses are forced to stop on the road, which blocks traffic.
Passengers are demanding the introduction of a common mobility card, which will help them use both metro and buses for their daily commute with ease.
Mr. Babu expressed confidence in getting competitive bidding for operating e-buses under FAME-2 scheme of the Central government. The BMTC has been making attempts to run e-buses since 2014. In the last three years, it made several attempts to lease buses under the Centre’s FAME scheme but did not succeed.