E-bus delay: BMTC to negotiate with bidder over price

E-bus delay: BMTC to negotiate with lone bidder to lower price

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The BMTC’s plan to induct electric buses has been delayed again as the board of directors on Tuesday directed the officials to negotiate with the private company, the lone qualifying bidder, to lower his price.

As per the original plan, the authorities should have finalised the tender by November to procure of 400 electric buses under the gross cost model supported by the Union government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacture of Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme.

Of the 400 buses, 300 buses would be given to the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), while the KSRTC and NWKRTC each were supposed to receive 50 each. However, only one of the two companies that participated in the tender process qualified in the technical round.

BMTC managing director C Shikha said the board was briefed about the financial bid made by the firm.

“The board has approved the larger aspects of the tender as well as the technical parts. However, we have been directed to negotiate with the company to lower the price,” she said.

Under the lease model, the company provides buses and operates them at a cost charged per kilometre. The BMTC deploys a conductor to each bus and collects revenue.

In 2018, then Transport Minister D C Thammanna had rejected a similar deal under the first phase of FAME scheme when a company had quoted Rs 37 per kilometre.

While officials refused to reveal the figures of the latest bid, it is estimated that the corporation may end up paying between Rs 55 and 65 per kilometre.

Officials said the rise in the cost was mainly due to the reduced incentive under the second phase of the FAME scheme.

“The Centre’s subsidy has come down from Rs 1 crore per bus to about Rs 50 lakh. This has increased the capital cost of the bus for the companies,” an official said.

Sources in the corporation said once the contract is signed, it may take several months for the buses to roll out.

“The company will demonstrate a prototype of the bus within 90 days from the date of signing the contract. All the 300 buses will be delivered in three lots. The numbers and the deadline for delivery will also be fixed in the contract,” the source said.

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