In a big push to combat the deteriorating air quality in the national capital, the Delhi Cabinet has now approved the procurement of 1,000 low-floor electric buses.
“This is the largest such commitment so far by any Indian city and for any city outside of China,” according to a Delhi government statement in PTI.
The cabinet made the decision at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi government has been taking proactive steps towards providing an efficient and environment-friendly mode of public transport for the residents of the city.
Creating sufficient capacity in the public transport system is the only way to reduce air pollution in Delhi and bring down the number of vehicles on the roads of the national capital to reduce congestion, the statement said.
The cabinet gave its approval to allow the transport department to ask the prospective bidders to bring the buses with CCTV, Automatic Vehicle Tracking System (AVTS), panic buttons and panic alarms, as per the specification finalized by the government.
The cabinet also approved the proposal to authorize the transport minister for the approval of all Request for Qualification and Proposals (RFQPs) under this project. These 1,000 low-floor electric buses will be parked and charged overnight at six depots called parent depots.
Infrastructure for charging of electric buses within the depot and the housing appropriate number of charging units will be the responsibility of the concessionaire. The arrangements to provide power infrastructure at intermediate charging points along bus routes (called as host depots) will also be the responsibility of the concessionaires.
The cabinet has decided that subsidy and power infrastructure up to parent depots, estimated to be ₹80 million (~$1.13 million), will be funded through the utilization of the Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) funds, presently a corpus of approximately ₹110 million (~$1.56 million), subject to directions and orders of the Supreme Court.
According to a PTI report, “The first set of tenders are expected to be released within a week, and the first lot of electric buses are likely to hit the streets before the end of this year.”
In its budget for the financial year (FY) for 2018-19, the Delhi government had announced that 1,000 electric buses would soon be introduced in the national capital.
In July 2018, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that his government had approved the hiring of a consultant to run 1,000 electric buses.
Once these buses are deployed, Delhi will have the second largest electric bus fleet after China.