A senior transport official stated that the West Bengal government will launch almost 1,200 electric buses in Kolkata to reduce air pollution over the next two years. 400 of these buses will be operational by January 2023.
He said that the transport department is also trying to introduce CNG-powered buses in the western and northern parts of the state.
The official stated that the department would introduce 1,180 buses for the West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC), in the Kolkata municipality area in the next 2-years.
He said that 400 buses from these will be on the streets by January 2023. Subhas Dutta, an environmental activist, welcomed the move and called it “a good start”.
He stated that although it was a small step considering that approximately 10 to 12 lakh of vehicles ply within the Kolkata metropolitan region, it is still a positive one.
He said, “Let us make a beginning for a better world; electric buses will reduce carbon emissions.”
Around 80 electric buses are currently operating in the eastern metropolis. They were purchased under the capex model. The WBTC procured and operated the vehicles on its own.
According to the WBTC official, 50 more electric buses have been purchased for Salt Lake as well as the New Town region adjacent to Kolkata. 11 of these buses are operational.
He said that the new 1,180 buses are being purchased under the opex model. The Tata-made electric buses will then be provided by the agency that owns them.
The official stated that approximately 750 buses would be 12-meters long and the remainder would be eight meters in length.
He said that the company would pay them on a per-kilometer basis. Drivers will be provided by his firm while conductors will come from the WBTC.
He stated that since retrofitting diesel-run buses using CNG kits was “bad”, new buses will be purchased with CNG-run engines for the state transport undertakings (STUs).
He said that discussions are ongoing on the details of the acquisition of CNG buses.