BMTC to acquire 271 CNG buses

The Transport department will acquire 271 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses, while at the same time dropping the idea of adding hybrid buses to the fleet of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).

 On Friday, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that the department had already received the Central government’s approval to acquire the buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) scheme.

Reddy said that under the scheme, the BMTC will  fund 50 per cent of the acquisition cost, 15 per cent will be funded by the State and 35 per cent by the Centre.

“We had requested the Centre to replace our demand for air-conditioned buses with CNG buses. Accordingly, the Centre has acceded to our request and granted permission for the CNG buses,” said the minister.

He said that the acquisition of the CNG buses would take some time, as the Centre’s approval is just the first step. Subsequently, the acquisition of buses will be placed before the BMTC board and they will be then tendered for. It is expected that the acquisition will take no less than eight months.

On the lack of availability of CNG fuel in the State, Reddy said that the department is planning to stock CNG in its BMTC depots. “Space is available in few of our depots, where we will construct CNG bunks to stock the fuel. We are also expecting the Bidadi gas pipeline to start supplying the CNG, once it is functional,” he said.

The minister said that the department intends to replace the conventional BMTC buses with CNG buses to ensure environment-friendly public transport, over the next five years. Currently, the BMTC fleet has 6,000 buses.

The transport department’s plans of including Hybrid buses (diesel and electric) is almost certain to be dropped. Reddy said that the cost per bus was too steep for the department to afford.

“It is not financially viable for us to purchase the Hybrid buses at this point of time. At Rs 2.3 crore per bus, it is too expensive,” he said.

Overall across the State, the transport department is expected to add 2,000 buses through its four transport corporations, the minister explained.

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