New Delhi: In its effort to promote pollution-free public transport, the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) has issued global tenders for procuring 375 Air Conditioned (AC) low-floor electric buses for its public transport fleet. These buses are the first phase of procurement out of 1,000 electric buses that were proposed by the GNCTD in its Budget 2018-19 and the procurement of which was approved by the Delhi Cabinet earlier this month to combat high levels of air pollution and boost public transport in the capital city. Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot wrote on his social media account,
Congrats! Keeping its commitment to fighting pollution and moving towards clean fuel technology, AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) government releases global tenders for engagement of 375 electric buses in Delhi. This is the first phase of procurement of a total of 1000 E-Buses.
While approving the procurement of 1000 electric buses, the Delhi cabinet said that the first batch of it was likely to be rolled on by the end of this year. As per the notice released by the Deputy Commissioner, Transport Department, the tender calls for safe, secure, efficient and reliable operation of electric buses in the capital. Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) has been appointed as the project consultant and is responsible for the procurement of e-buses.
The buses are expected to be 32 seater and will have CCTV (Closed-circuit television) camera, Automatic Vehicle Tracking System (AVTS), panic buttons and panic alarms as security features. These buses will take two hours to fully charge and will be able to run for 150 km per full charge and will be parked for charging at designated depots, reads a statement from Delhi government.
Currently, three electric buses are being run by the GNCTD on trial basis to test and demonstrate the operational feasibility of these buses on different road conditions. As the trial nears its end, the GNCTD has started floating tenders for procurement. Not only will this procurement be giving a boost to zero-emission mobility in the capital, but it will also strengthen the public transport system in the city which is facing a shortage of vehicles. As per the directions of the Supreme Court dated July 19, 2018, Delhi needs to step up its public transport as it has only 5,554 CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) run buses against the required number of 11,000 vehicles.
Acknowledging the state government’s initiatives towards increasing the number of public buses, Anumita Roy Chowdhary, Executive Director Research and Advocacy, Centre of Science and Environment said,
Last mile connectivity is significant to combat air pollution problem in the city. This is an important step forward to promote zero-emissions travel and reduce toxic exposure. But to maximise air quality gains this will require careful deployment strategy, infrastructure, and fiscal incentive support.
According to Ankit Mittal, a resident of the city, increasing the number of CNG/ electric buses is not enough and will not have any impact unless the old polluting vehicles and diesel vehicles are removed from the road. He said,
Unless you stop the diesel trucks from entering the city, there can be no real solution to the increasing pollution. Just try banning their entry for a month and you’d see visible differences.
Apart from plying electric buses, the GNCTD has also earmarked Rs. 100 crore in its annual budget for promoting electric mobility in the city and placed a draft for Delhi Electric Vehicle Policy last year in November. Along with this, electric cars are being used by various departments of the Delhi government and urban local bodies. Public charging stations for electric vehicles are being installed across the city including government offices, metro stations in Dwarka, market places such as Sarojini Nagar and others to drive the transition to electric mobility and fight air pollution caused by vehicular emissions.
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