Basavaraj Bommai, the chief minister of Karnataka flagged off the buses departing Vidhana Soudha.
Two committees have been established for the revival and development of state transport undertakings. Retired IAS officer MR Srinivas Murthy is expected to submit a report about the revival of STUs. He stated that the committee would make recommendations about how to plug pilferage, and how to improve services so that STUs can be profitable.
He stated that STUs should not be dependent on government subsidies. There are many ways to increase BMTC revenue. BMTC buses were hired by many PSUs to transport employees. We will be talking to PSUs like HAL and IT firms to convince these companies to do so again.
The CM also suggested that BMTC’s look be updated to make it more attractive to commuters.
However, there was a delay in inducing electric and BS-VI busses. BMTC was the first national state-run transport utility to conduct trials for e-buses. Although the original plan was to deploy the 90 electric buses by June 2021, it was delayed due to various reasons. Similarly, 565 BS-VI busses were announced in 2017-18 state budget. But, things were delayed by a case before the National Green Tribunal.
November 2019 was the last time BMTC inducted buses into its fleet.
40 of the 90 e-buses are on the road
Officials at BMTC stated that 40 of the 90 non AC ebuses under the Bengaluru Smart City scheme were being operated in the first phase. These will be operated on three routes from Kengeri depot: Kengeri- Banashankari, Kengeri-Electronics City, and KengeriChikkabanawara, said BMTC managing director V Anbukumar.
These 90 ebuses will be operated by Metro feeder services to provide last- and first-mile connectivity. Bengaluru Smart City Ltd has provided financial support of Rs 50 Crore for the operation. Anbukumar stated that so far, 40 zero emission and environment-friendly electric buses have been delivered. The remainder will be deployed by January.
Three depots will operate 30 of the 90 ebuses: Yeshwantpur and KR Puram. The buses are 9m long and have 33+1 seating. They also come with vehicle-tracking devices, CCTV, LED route boards, and an emergency panic button.
NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd will manage these buses for a period of 10 years at a gross cost model rate of Rs 51.67/km with daily electricity for 180km.
150 BS-VI diesel buses too
Officials from BMTC stated that 565 BS-VI diesel bus are being inducted with financial assistance of Rs 19.1 crore from the state. BS-VI buses have low emissions and are environmentally friendly. They are 41+1 in size and have features like an emergency panic button, rear air suspension and an LED route display board. They will be used to replace old buses and augment schedules. Anbukumar said that 150 buses have already been delivered. The remaining buses will be deployed by February 20, 2022.
He said that the BMTC will be scrapping all buses that have traveled more than 95,000 km or been in service for more than 11 years. 1,232 of these buses have been identified, including BS-III. Anbukumar stated that 500 of these buses have been scrapped.