Hyderabad: Very soon one would get to travel in electric buses (e-buses) in Hyderabad, thanks to the subsidy announced by the Union Government in the recent budget. The Centre has proposed to provide 100 buses with 60 per cent of the cost as subsidy.
The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation had recently operated battery-enabled e-bus with 324 kw of power to Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad for a month on an experimental basis with the help of a company which manufactured the e-bus. The officials operated the bus to RGI Airport for a few weeks to check its efficacy. The officials were impressed with its performance.
However, the corporation could not proceed as the cost of the bus was too high. According to the officials, the cost of each e-bus would be around Rs 2.5 crore. The normal a/c bus would cost anywhere between Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.2 crore.The Union government in its budget had proposed to subsidise the cost of the e-bus in its bid to reduce air pollution in cities.
According to officials, the Centre proposes to provide either 60 per cent subsidy or Rs 1 crore of the cost of the bus, whichever is less and the remaining cost should have to be borne by the operator.
The Centre proposed to give subsidy to 100 buses to the corporation.The RTC is planning to invite private transport operators to purchase the e-buses availing the subsidy, with an assurance that it would hire the buses. As buying them outright is quite expensive, the TSRTC wants to hire them once the private operators procure them.
The corporation has already called tenders for operation of the e-buses on its behalf. As per the tender notice, the selected operators would provide e-buses with driver, insurance and maintenance. The TSRTC would collect fare and pay the operator at a price mutually agreed on kilometre basis. The corporation would select private operators through tenders for operating e-buses. The corporation was looking for companies with a turnover of Rs 10 crore. The bids would be opened on February 16, according to sources.
According to the officials, the UK has shown interest in running the e-buses. Recently, British Deputy Commissioner Andrew Fleming met the RTC MD G V Ramana Rao and held discussions on operating the e-buses.
Ramana Rao said that the tenders would be opened on February 19 and the entire process would be completed by February 28. He said that it would be the bidders’ responsibility to meet the criteria as per FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India) a scheme of the central government. The corporation would only help to facilitate the process for getting the incentive passed onto the bidder.