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Kerala pins hope on e-buses to control pollution, cut losses on public fleet

Bengaluru: Kerala’s urban areas are much cleaner than cities such as Delhi or Mumbai, but it is still planning to introduce electricity-run vehicles.
The state-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which runs a fleet of 6,400 buses transporting almost 20% of total bus travellers, is planning to introduce 300 new electric buses for inter-city travel within the next six months, said its head Tomin J. Thachankary. To test the roads, it will start a 15-day trial run starting Monday after which the tender process will begin, he said.
The electricity-run buses have many advantages—apart from design elements to make it palatable to an urban audience such as air-conditioned push back seats, CCTV cameras and GPS tracking, it crucially gives out zero emission and no sound. But for the local government, the policy shift also seems to be a result of another factor—economics.
The corporation is planning to lease electric buses from dealers for specific inter-city routes. The leased e-buses will come with its own operators, so the corporation does not have to employ more staffers. Plus, charging much higher for tickets than the usual Rs 20 for every 5km, the corporation also stands to get significantly more money plying e-buses, according to Thachankary.
“Running every one of my Rs 30 lakh costing fossil fuel-run buses, I’m making a loss of Rs 40 lakh per year. Once the leased e-buses come in, my per kilometre expenses will be much lesser than those buses. Plus, I have no headache over pollution,” Thachankary said over the phone.

 

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