KARNATAKA, (Smart Cities News): Banglore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will likely receive an Electric Buses (E-bus) prototype by 10th August 2021. Before the second wave of the pandemic, the corporation had selected NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. to run 90 without A/C E-buses under the Bengaluru Smart City Project. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the operator could not provide the E-buses.
Officials now say that by 10th August 2021, a prototype of the e-bus will be provided by the operator as per the specifications mentioned in the tender. The prototype will be operated on the city’s roads.
“The operator is supplying a 9 metre long 31 seat E-buses. After we receive the e-bus, it will be operated on the city’s roads to assess whether the vehicle has been built as per the specifications in the tender. If approved, the operator will provide the rest of the e-buses in batches. The corporation is likely to get all the 90 e-buses in six months,” said BMTC officials.
The BMTC will operate the e-buses on Gross Cost Contract (GCC) basis. The corporation will pay ₹51 per kilometre as the operational cost to the operator, including for power consumption.
In addition to the Smart City project, the corporation also plans to operate e-buses under the FAME II scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India). Though a tender was floated earlier, it was cancelled as the operational cost quoted by bidders was not feasible for the BMTC.
The corporation had plans to operate 300 AC e-buses under FAME II. However, after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of the AC e-buses remained off the roads, forcing the BMTC to change the plan and float a tender for operating 300 without A/C E-buses. Officials said that tender evaluation is in progress.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit the plan of operating 1,500 diesel buses through a private operator. Though the tender was floated in March 2021, it is said that the date for bid submission has been pushed back, citing the COVID-19 pandemic. The leasing of buses from private operators is opposed by employees’ unions, who accused the Karnataka government of laying the foundation for privatisation of the road transport corporation.