After extended delays, the first batch comprising four electric buses were finally inducted into the existing fleet of the public transport authority attached to the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) on Monday evening.
The MBMC has placed an order of 57 e-buses. While 32 (midi buses) out of the 57 electric buses will be 9-meter-long and without air-conditioners, 15 will be regular non-AC buses and remaining 10 will be air-conditioned buses. The 12-metre and 9 metre buses will have a seating capacity of 39 and 31 plus drivers respectively.
Four midi (non-air conditioned) buses were flagged off by legislators Pratap Sarnaik, Geeta Jain and municipal commissioner Sanjay Katkar from the central depot in the Ghodbunder area of Kashimira.
“The e-buses will ply on route number 12 (Bhayandar railway station to Ramdev Park) and route number 19 ( J.P,North in Kashimira to Mira Road railway station),” informed additional civic chief Aniket Manorkar who handles the public transport authority.
Focus on improving air quality
The e-bus project is being implemented under the aegis of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) mooted by the central government for improving air quality in the country in mission mode.
Presently, 71 out of the 74 diesel powered buses operate on 18 routes which have an average ridership of 90,000 commuters per day as collections hover above ₹8.5 lakh. The addition of all 57 buses will take the existing fleet size to 131 buses.
The MBMC has appointed a Pune-based company to operate the public transport system on a wet leased Gross Cost Contract (GCC) model under which buses will be owned, maintained, and driven by a private contractor who will also pay for fuel (charging) in exchange for a fixed per km rate and generate income through advertisements. MBMC will only deploy conductors to collect revenue through ticket sales. As the ridership is witnessing a significant surge, every passing day, the civic administration projects the figures to cross the 1.25 lakh in coming months.