The introduction of electric buses in the city, which has been delayed for a few years now, has got a new deadline of February 15, 2020.
Ajit B. Torgal, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), said, “The project has been delayed for so long because the cost quoted for the tenders is higher than what the BMTC is ready to offer. We are re-negotiating with the vendors at present.”
Under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India II ) Scheme, the subsidy allotted is Rs 1 crore each for AC buses and Rs 75 lakh each for non-AC buses.
In comparison to CNG buses, the maintenance cost of electric buses is lower. An Indian Institute of Science (IISc) study found that replacing a diesel bus with an electric bus reduces up to 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission annually.
Sandeep Anirudhan, an environmentalist said, “There is no doubt that adopting electric buses will decrease the noise and air pollution levels in the city. But I don’t know why BMTC is so bent on buying new buses. The existing fleet is not in a very bad condition, so BMTC can use the much more cost-effective method of retrofitting electric motors to the buses. Instead of investing in new buses, they can extend the lives of existing buses.”
The BMTC had earlier missed the Rs 75 crore subsidy as it failed to utilize the first phase of the FAME scheme, which expired on March 31, 2019, and the negotiations continue.