On first day, AC electric double decker bus leaves commuters sweating in hot afternoon
The country’s first air-conditioned electric double decker bus on its maiden journey from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to NCPA on Tuesday failed to meet commuters’ expectations
The country’s first air-conditioned electric double decker bus on its maiden journey from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to NCPA on Tuesday failed to meet commuters’ expectations. Not only was the bus non-operational in the afternoon, which would have offered a much-needed respite from the scorching heat, it also did not resume at 4 pm as per schedule and was late by more than an hour.
“From 1 pm to 4 pm, the bus undergoes charging. Today, it was taken to Anik depot for charging as the system is being installed at Colaba depot. On its return, the bus got stuck in traffic, leading to a delay in resuming its service,” a BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) official said.
According to BEST officials, the first trip begins at 8.45 am from CSMT while the last trip is at 12.20 pm. Likewise, the first bus from NCPA starts at 9.02 am while the last bus leaving for CSMT is at 12.40 pm. Each trip takes around 15-20 minutes.
“The service of this AC e-double decker resumes at 4 pm from CSMT and at 4.20 pm from NCPA,” the official added.
Commuters, however, said keeping the service away in the afternoon doesn’t make sense, especially with summer heat. At CSMT bus station, people were seen enquiring with BEST staff about the schedule and its availability. As per the timetable, the last bus from CSMT is at 7.40 pm and at 8 pm from NCPA.
“When the last bus is so much earlier than the regular timetable, why cannot the BEST authority operate this newly inducted AC e-double decker bus in the afternoon and charge it after the last bus has completed its trip,” asked Siddesh Desai, who was boarding at CSMT to reach his office at Nariman Point.
The bus completed 12 trips and carried more than 1,000 passengers.
Switch EiV22, the model name for this e-double decker bus, has a 231kWh battery with a range of up to 250 km. But an operational run of only 160-180 km can be expected owing to factors like traffic, weather conditions etc. The bus can cover 100 km with just a 45-minute charge, while a full charge takes 80 minutes.
With these features, transport experts questioned the logic behind keeping this bus off the road in the afternoon when people would want to avoid the heat and travel in it. BEST officials said on this route, there are single decker AC buses as well.
BEST will operate this AC e-double decker bus on route A-115 (between CSMT and NCPA) from Monday to Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, it will be operated as a Heritage Tour bus wherein the services will start at 9 am.
The undertaking has proposed to get 900 AC e-double decker buses in the coming months. At present, there are 45 double decker buses on its fleet of around 3,300 buses. It also has plans to introduce 50 open deck AC e-double decker buses as hop-on, hop-off services.