BMTC looking for private players to run electric buses in the state: Report

The ambitious plan to runs electric buses in Bengaluru for public transport now depends on whether the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) can find private investors says a report. According to ET the transport corporation wants to take the public-private partnership route to procure 150 electric buses.

BMTC MD V Ponnuraj speaking to the publication said “We are finalising the tender documents. The corporation will not invest on electric buses. We will invite private operators to participate in the tender and operate electric buses in the city based on certain conditions.”

Earlier BMTC planned to buy 150 electric buses after the Union government promised incentives under its ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles’ (FAME) Scheme. As a subsidy of Rs. 50- Rs. 80 lakh per vehicle could be availed under the scheme, the BMTC hoped that it would only need to invest the remaining cost.

The publication notes that the change of plans is apparently due to the high capital cost. For the price of an electric bus which costs around Rs 2.5 crore, the corporation could buy three diesel-run buses. However, the environment-friendly feature of electric buses and low operating cost are the plus points.

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Ponnuraj further noted that BMTC staffs are not acquainted with the operation and maintenance of electric vehicles was also the reason that corporation was looking for private players. The corporation will now use the subsidy to build infrastructure for electric buses and have consulted various stakeholders including transport experts and electric bus manufacturers.

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Private operators will have to procure, operate, deploy and maintain 150 electric buses. The contract will be for seven years with an option to extend it by 1-3 years depending on the physical condition of the buses. The BMTC will pay private operators on the number of kilometres clocked by the buses.