Travelling in an electric bus is no longer a dream for Mumbaikars as Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is going to introduce the first batch of 10 emission-free electric buses on a wet lease by August 4. With the objective to cut down fuel cost and provide environment friendly solution, the bus services are set to ply on the routes that had earlier been shut down to overcome losses.
The first batch of buses will include six air-condition buses and four non air-condition buses which will run from Mahim-Mira Road; Sion-Thane and Sion-Bhayander Railway station. Unlike hybrid buses, these buses will completely run on four batteries which take at least three to three-and-a-half hours for the batteries to get completely charged. These engineless and gearless buses run for 200 km once they are fully charged and has 6 USB charging points. These midsized buses will have a seating capacity of 31 passengers and a standing room for 12 other passengers.
Commuters who were affected as BEST stopped bus services on 170 of its C-category routes will be relieved when these buses will start running on these roads. “Earlier, the buses would regularly operate at half of their carrying capacity, but with these midibuses, the buses will ply at full capacity. This will ensure that we cater to our long-distance passengers, who had been inconvenienced by the routes shutting down,” a senior BEST official said, quoted Mumbai Mirror.
The Original Manufacturer Equipment (OME) of electric buses-Olectra Greentech has sent a 12 meter long bus from Telangana to BEST depot in Dharavi on Thursday night so that 25 drivers can be trained who will operate these buses in two shifts. Since the buses are brought by BEST on wet lease, which means the maintenance of the bus and drivers to operate the bus will be provided by the contractor i.e. Olectra Greentech while the conductors will be from the BEST.
Olectra has already invited applications for drivers job, received 130 application out of which 40 are from BEST. Official from Olectra said that they will give priority to family members of BEST employees.
“These electric buses are different from buses that run on CNG and diesel. Experienced drivers will be hired, and will receive training in controlling the accelerator to get good mileage. After being shortlisted, the new drivers will be trained for around 15 days. We have informed employees in all depots to forward the applications of their family members who are interested in applying,” the official said.
Meanwhile, BEST has also started the process of finalising the contract for 400 non electric buses which will also be brought on wet lease. Earlier the contracts were given to Antony Garage Pvt. Ltd. and Shri Krupa services for providing 200 buses each but now the contract is under review and may undergo some changes.