While the number of electric buses in the fleet of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) has increased, the number of bus charging stations remains the same.
Presently, BEST has 72 e-buses in the BEST fleet while there are only two electric bus charging points for the entire fleet of BEST buses in Mumbai. The undertaking had inducted 26 e-buses in its fleet on Thursday under the union ministry's FAME India scheme and soon 24 more buses will be added to the BEST fleet soon.
"Presently there are two bus charging points at Backbay and Dharavi depot. Now that more e-buses are being procured by the BEST, the number of charging points will also be increased in more depots," BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade told FPJ.
Electric buses were introduced in the undertaking for the first time in 2017, and since then most of these were being run on short and medium routes. There are total 27 depots of BEST and not a single depot in the suburban belt is equipped with a bus charging point.
"Most of the electric buses ply on South Mumbai, which is why there is limited number of charging stations now. Also most of these buses run on shorter a route which is why there are not many charging stations as well," stated an official.
Senior Congress corporator and BEST committee member, Ravi Raja applauded BEST's enthusiasm on procuring e-buses while he also maintained that now there is an immediate need to increase the number of charging points.
"By next two years BEST should have atleast 500 e-buses in their fleet, also at the same time charging stations needs to be introduced at other city depots as well," Raja told FPJ.