Mumbai’s long wait for zero-emission eco-friendly public transport buses is now over. The city received its first batch of four battery operated buses this week.
If you live in the island city, you will be able to ride in one of these by the end of the month. Of the budget allotted to it by the civic body, the Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bought these buses for Rs10 crore.
After being charged once, the buses can cover about 300 km and their lithium ion batteries will, however, take three hours to get fully charged.The buses are currently parked at the BEST’s Backbay depot as they are yet to be registered at the regional transport office in Tardeo, said sources.
“We have created a special charging facility for the buses at the Backbay depot,” said a BEST official. He added that the buses will ply only in the island city at first.
The BEST currently has fleet of around 3,400 buses, of which only non-AC buses, including 2,200 compressed natural gas buses, are operational. The BEST will get six battery operated buses, of which four are modelled on the China-made BYD K-7 bus, while the other two are of the Indian-made VE Skyline Pro model.
In March last year, the BEST panel had approved the purchase of these buses, each costing around Rs1.65 crore, much higher than the cost of fossil fuel non-AC and AC buses at Rs50 lakh.
The red-and-silver buses can seat 35 and are fitted with bucket seats andTheir low floors make them passenger friendly. Compared to regular buses, these do not have gear boxes or clutch pedals, making it easier for drivers to manoeuvre crowded streets. BEST officials see the introduction these buses as a step towards reducing air and noise pollution in Mumbai as a major source of pollution in the city comes from the increasing vehicular traffic.