BEST's electric footprint to rise to 15% with 100 double-deckers

electric buses, mumbai, AC, Lokesh Chandra, Chandra, BEST buses, CNG, best electric footprint

(This story originally appeared in
electric buses, mumbai, AC, Lokesh Chandra, Chandra, BEST buses, CNG, best electric footprint
on Jul 27, 2021)

MUMBAI: Expect 12% of BEST’s 3,300 buses to be electric by the year-end, when it will have 380 e-buses. To boost the e-move, the undertaking decided on Monday to procure 100 new e-double deckers, which could push the electric footprint to 15% (nearly 500 e-buses) by early 2022.

BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra on Monday announced that the undertaking wants to scrap its plan of procuring diesel double-deckers and will go instead for ‘pure electric’ twin-deck buses.

The iconic double-deckers have been popular among Mumbaikars for decades, but its fleet shrunk lately from 120 a few years back to 48. Twenty-eight more could be phased out in the coming months as they complete their lifespan, sources said. BEST is in a hurry to get new twin-deck buses so that it maintains the double-decker fleet at 120.

“While it is a good decision by BEST to increase electric vehicles, it also has to ensure wet-lease buses run on green fuel. As many as 550 such buses run on diesel, which is not what the city wants. BEST committee and administration should join hands for a cleaner Mumbai and sign contracts for buses which run only on CNG or are electric.”

— TimesView

“We have approached manufacturers to incorporate latest technology and submit bids for the e-double-decker buses. If they can run in cities abroad, why not in Mumbai?” he said. Such buses are in operation in China, US and UK.

electric buses, mumbai, AC, Lokesh Chandra, Chandra, BEST buses, CNG, best electric footprint

Chandra said it will cost Rs 68-70 lakh to purchase a normal double-decker in Mumbai and an electric variant would increase cost by 150%, which is over Rs 1.7 crore per bus. Chandra said though capital costs for each bus will be high, long-running and maintenance costs will be low and commuters will get noiseless, zero emission buses which will be good for the city. Besides, having a double-decker means occupying less road space and carrying 90 passengers in a single trip.

Another environment-friendly move by BEST will be to bring in more CNG or electric buses rather than diesel on wet-lease, where a private party supplies the bus, maintains it, provides a driver and fuel, while BEST deploys its conductor and has 100% rights over the earnings from operating it.

An official said, “We have nearly 550 AC mini-buses on wet lease which run on diesel. When we sign contracts with operators, we will explore the possibility of smaller CNG or electric buses.”

This week, BEST gets 25 new single-decker electric buses which are longer (12 metres) so they can accommodate more commuters.

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