The state’s public transportation agency has announced the commencement of its electric bus service connecting Pune and Nashik, with a similar service to Kolhapur in the pipeline. This move represents the organization’s commitment to reducing reliance on diesel-powered buses.
Kailas Patil, the Pune divisional controller of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), confirmed the deployment of 18 Shivai electric buses for the Pune-Nashik route.
Additionally, a total of 12 e-buses are slated to operate on the Pune-Kolhapur and Kolhapur-Pune routes. Passengers traveling to Nashik and Kolhapur can expect a fare of Rs. 475, while women passengers will enjoy a 50% discount on these fares, as mandated by regulations.
Departure points have also been determined. The electric buses to Nashik will originate from the Shivajinagar depot, Wakdewadi, while those traveling to Kolhapur will board the electric bus at the Swargate depot.
Patil explained that the introduction of new routes is facilitated by the growing influx of electric buses. Pune currently serves as the hub for MSRTC’s electric bus operations, with 41 e-buses already operational. This fleet includes 36 e-Shivneri buses servicing the Pune-Mumbai route and five Shivai e-buses covering the Pune-Aurangabad route.
Patil emphasized the distinction between the electric Shivneri and Shivai buses, which belong to separate brands under the state transport utility. The e-Shivneri buses are dedicated to the Pune-Mumbai route, whereas some Shivneri buses, after completing eight years of service, are reassigned to other routes.
Following the introduction of two electric Shivai buses for the Pune-Ahmednagar route last June, challenges in logistics temporarily hindered the expansion of the electric bus fleet. However, insider sources have now confirmed plans for the fleet’s expansion. With ambitious goals, senior officials aim to augment the electric bus fleet to around 150 vehicles by the end of the year.
An MSRTC representative unveiled more extensive plans, stating, “Our vision for the next two years is to have over 5,000 electric buses. To facilitate this, we are concurrently developing charging stations across various locations.”