BMTC cuts raw deal to go on eco-friendly bus ride?


Transport utility offers good rate to pvt firms for e-buses that may run on losses

A consortium of government-owned NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd and < keyword keytype="Domain" smid="0" usetype="2" keywordseo="JBM-Auto" actualkeyword="JBM Auto">JBM Auto

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has bagged a mighty precious contract to supply 90 electric buses to the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). The transport utility, which recently issued work orders, has made a generous offer to give Rs 9,180 per day per bus as operational expenditure, besides a capital investment of Rs 50 crore for charging infrastructure and electric buses (31-seater).

As per the agreement, the private consortium is expected to operate these buses on select routes, meet the daily maintenance cost and also provide a driver.

In return, the BMTC will provide Rs 51 per kilometre per bus and has assured daily trip of 180 km per bus, besides providing a conductor. These electric buses might run under loss permanently as none of the 31-seater buses that are currently operational are earning even close to what the BMTC has offered to pay the private firms.

Raw deal

As the ridership has fallen drastically owing to pandemic, the earnings from ticket fares too have plummeted. Sources said each bus on an average is currently earning just about Rs 26 to Rs 36 per kilometre. The BMTC is, however, spending anywhere between Rs 70 to Rs 100 per kilometre as schedules have been cut and daily kilometres have been reduced.

All eyes on next round of trial run for e-buses

Its performance on Bengaluru’s roads over the next two weeks will play a key role as the Gurugram-headquartered company is the lowest bidder for supplying 90 electric buses to the transport corporation.

Even during the pre-Covid days, the BMTC’s expenditure was more than the revenue it earned from operations. Sources said each AC and non AC bus on an average earned Rs 62 and Rs 42 per kilometre respectively. The expenditure, however, stood at Rs 70 per kilometre on AC bus and Rs 54 per kilometre on non-AC buses. The huge gap between operational cost and expenditure would prompt officials to cut schedules to minimise loss.

Whether it’s an electric bus or diesel bus, we have been making losses. What we gain from this are the eco-friendly buses ­

–C Shikha, BMTC MD

Citing the operational losses faced by the BMTC, officials state that they have struck a good deal in procurement of electric buses. “We have offered to pay Rs 51 per kilometre. During the pre-covid days, we used to earn around Rs 45 per kilometre. Whether it’s an electric bus or diesel bus, we have been making losses. What we gain from this is the environmental-friendly buses,” C Shikha, Managing Director of BMTC said.

The 90 buses, mostly funded by the Bengaluru Smart City, will be used as feeder services to Metro stations.

Officials also estimate that their operational expenditure has been increasing as the prices of diesel have gone up.

Pawan Mulukutla, Director at WRI India said the state government should provide viability gap funding to the BMTC.



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Sagar Biswas

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