The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has successfully electrified 70% of its Shivneri AC bus fleet, a popular route carrying passengers from Mumbai to Pune. Out of the planned 100 electric buses for this route, only 30 diesel buses are left to be replaced. MSRTC aims to completely phase out diesel buses on this route in the coming months, offering passengers a comfortable and quiet electric ride via the Pune Expressway.
MSRTC Managing Director Shekhar Channe mentioned that the introduction of electric buses has already proven profitable for the corporation. The electric buses have generated income surpassing the lease rent paid to the private operator, resulting in initial profits. There are plans to electrify the entire fleet of 100 buses before Diwali, a significant Indian festival.
Previously, 116 diesel-run Volvo and Scania buses operated daily between Mumbai and Pune, but this number was reduced to 100 diesel buses before the decision was made to introduce electric buses. Olectra Greentech Ltd manufactures electric buses, which have received positive feedback from passengers due to increased comfort and modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, mobile charging points, seat lights, and CCTV cameras.
These electric buses are procured under the Fame-2 subsidy scheme of the Central government and will have a distinct appearance to indicate their use of green fuel. To ensure uninterrupted journeys, the bus corporation is installing multiple e-charging points in Mumbai and Pune, equipped with fast chargers that can fully charge a bus in two hours. Each bus has a range of 300 km on a single charge, suitable for a round trip between the two cities.
MSRTC has recently issued work orders for 2,800 new electric 12-meter-long buses and 2,350 electric 9-meter-long buses. The shorter 9-meter-long buses will be deployed on routes in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The move to electric buses is expected to significantly reduce diesel expenses, which account for 38% of MSRTC’s total expenditure for running the fleet. This transition will result in substantial cost savings for the state transport corporation.
MSRTC has seen an increase in ridership, particularly among senior citizens and women, who have benefited from free and discounted travel options. The daily ridership across all bus routes in Maharashtra has exceeded 54 lakh (5.4 million) passengers.
The corporation’s extensive bus network reaches nearly all citizens in the state, providing essential transportation services. Furthermore, around eight lakh (800,000) students benefit from free bus travel, demonstrating the corporation’s commitment to social welfare.