Karnataka govt mulls private EV buses for Bengaluru

Deputy CM Laxman Savadi

In what seems as a preparation by the State Government to some extent save Bengaluru from choking pollution caused by vehicles run on convention fuel, it is exploring a way to run electric buses (EV) owned and maintained by foreign companies, but with 60:40 revenue sharing.

"It is a no investment and no maintenance scheme for the government. Some foreign companies have already come forward, and the plan is in discussion stage. They will bring EV buses, maintain them, install charging points, and pay the electricity bills. We provide conductors and drivers. We give them routes and fix the fare. Revenue share for the government would be 60%," said Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who is also the Transport Minister.

He told DH here on Tuesday that those foreign companies are discussing the same issue with other States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Assam, and Rajasthan. In Assam, the agreement is expected to be signed soon. Considering the pros and cons there, a clarity for the project in Karnataka would also be available in four or five months, Savadi explained.

We are purchasing EV buses with a focus on Bengaluru, and some of them would be given to Hubballi-Dharwad too, he added.

Bus bay

To reduce traffic and promote public transport, 18 km of roads in Bengaluru have already been identified for developing bus bay. Existing buses would run there with more frequency, so that journey time can be reduced, Savadi said.

Bus stops would also be modified, and electronic display boards showing the arrival of buses would be installed, the transport minister noted.

In favour of staff's demand

"A committee of higher officials has been formed to study the pros and cons of giving government employee status to 1.30 lakh staff of State-run transport corporations. I am in favour of that decision, and that would also help to bring the corporations out of loss," Savadi said.

To reduce loss

"Our motto is to offer transport service through four State-run transport corporations. Focus is not just to bring them into profit, but to run them on a no-profit-no-loss basis, so that they can be self-sustainable. Steps would be taken to plug pilferage, and to give transparent administration, he stated

Unnecessarily, more number of buses are being run on some intercity routes like Gadag-Hubballi, though passengers are less. That overlap traffic can be checked, and officials have been asked to study this matter. But, we have to provide bus service to rural areas, as a social obligation, he added.

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