10k public buses in Delhi by 2023, 75% new vehicles electric: Kailash Gahlot

Delhi currently has 6,894 buses, of which 3,761, including one electric bus, are with the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and 3,133 are operating under the cluster scheme
Of the 2,830 new buses to be added until mid-2023, 700 will run on CNG, officials said, adding that 250 of these buses will start arriving from March this year, and the delivery of the remaining 450 will begin from October. (ANI File)
Of the 2,830 new buses to be added until mid-2023, 700 will run on CNG, officials said, adding that 250 of these buses will start arriving from March this year, and the delivery of the remaining 450 will begin from October. (ANI File)
Updated on Jan 26, 2022 03:33 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Delhi will have a fleet of nearly 10,000 buses for public transport, with 75% electric buses among the newly inducted vehicles, by mid next year, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said on Tuesday.

Talking to HT, the minister said a total of 2,830 new buses are scheduled to arrive in different phases between March and mid-2023, which will take the total number of buses in the Capital to 9,724. “Of the 2,830 new buses, 2,130, or 75%, will be electric buses -- a feat which no other state probably has been able to achieve so far. It is also noteworthy that it will be the first time that Delhi will have a fleet as big as 9,730 buses...,” said Gahlot.

The city currently has 6,894 buses, of which 3,761, including one electric bus, are with the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and 3,133 are operating under the cluster scheme.

Transport commissioner Ashish Kundra said even the current bus fleet in the national Capital is the highest ever in Delhi. Records with the state transport department showed that the previous high was in 2010 when Delhi increased its fleet size to 6,342 as it procured new buses on a war footing ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Of the 2,830 new buses to be added until mid-2023, 700 will run on CNG, officials said, adding that 250 of these buses will start arriving from March this year, and the delivery of the remaining 450 will begin from October.

The DTC will get 300 electric buses, which will also start arriving from March.

On January 17 this year, the first electric bus under this lot was flagged off by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in the city. It was also the first time that DTC has managed to procure a bus since 2011, after at least five failed tenders.

As per various court orders in the past, Delhi should have 10,000-11,000 buses for public transport. However, senior transport officials said even a fleet of 9,000 buses will do for now since the Delhi Metro also caters to a significant number of passengers.

According to data from before Covid when there were no curbs, DTC and cluster buses together catered to about 4.2 million passengers every day, and the Delhi Metro saw about 2.4 million commuters daily.

“At the time of the previous court orders regarding fleet size, Delhi’s Metro was either not there at all or the network was negligible and therefore, having 11,000 buses was estimated based on the assumption that buses will be the only and primary mode of public transport. But, over the years, the passenger ridership has split between the state-run buses and the Metro,” said a senior transport official on condition of anonymity.

Apart from the 300 e-buses for the DTC, the tender for another 330 e-buses, for the cluster scheme, is being drafted and the vehicles will be rolled out by end of this year, said officials.

A big set of 1,500 e-buses under the Central government’s “Grand Challenge” (initiated in June last year by the ministry of power and NITI Aayog) will start arriving from July this year and the final lot is expected to arrive by June-July next year, Kundra said.

On October 28 last year, HT first reported that the Delhi government has planned to only procure electric buses in the future, with an aim to increase the share of zero-emission vehicles in public transport to over 50%. For this, all existing bus depots are being upgraded with EV charging infrastructure by roping in all the three major private power distribution companies in the city.

Amit Bhatt, executive director (transport), WRI India, said e-buses have low operating costs, and a capital cost higher than CNG buses. “What we need to remember is that fuel, even if it’s CNG, accounts for 40% of the operational cost of buses in our cities. With electric buses, the operational cost becomes cheaper and it also helps in the overall business planning of bus operations. The environmental benefits of e-buses are phenomenal as they have zero emissions and zero carbon footprint.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on urban development, transport, energy and social welfare in Delhi. She prefers to be called a storyteller and has given voice to several human interest stories. She is currently cutting her teeth on multimedia storytelling.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022