Thane to get 300 new e-buses within a year
Of the 300 buses, TMT has proposed to add 123 AC and non-AC e-buses, measuring 9 and 12 meters, within six months, 42 e-buses in the next couple of months and the remaining 150 by June 2024 under the government’s ‘Shoonya – Zero Pollution Mobility’ campaign
Thane: The Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) has decided to add more than 300 new e-buses to its fleet within a year to improve the air quality in the city.
Of the 300 buses, TMT has proposed to add 123 AC and non-AC e-buses, measuring 9 and 12 meters, within six months, 42 e-buses in the next couple of months and the remaining 150 by June 2024 under the government’s ‘Shoonya – Zero Pollution Mobility’ campaign.
“Of these 123 new buses worth around ₹185 crore, 80 are currently functional in the city, and 20 more are expected to arrive during Navratri. The Pune-based electric bus manufacturer Olectra Greentech will manage the buses. The buses will be supplied on a gross cost contract (GCC) model basis for 15 years,” Vilas Joshi, chairman of TMT, said. “While other corporations like Navi Mumbai and Virar are paying around ₹60-70 per kilometre, TMT has purchased that tender at the lowest rate in the state at ₹61 per kilometre. These buses will have air suspension and disc brakes on all four wheels. Moreover, the AC buses have 58 kWm power that will ensure that the temperature inside the bus is maintained even when the door is opened at some stops.”
These buses are expected to run on 25 of the busiest routes, including Majiwada to Bhiwandi, Shivai Nagar to Kelkar College in Mulund and Vashi Railway Station to Retibunder Circle, Joshi said, adding, “Though the capacity is of 40 people, the buses will be able to carry 60 people.”
Assuring the safety of the passengers, he said, “These buses have passed the Yeoor test, wherein these were filled with 50 sandbags weighing 50kg each and were then driven on the Yeoor Hills, stopping intermittently to check if the bus was capable of carrying the load.”
Despite such advancements, incidents of TMT buses breaking down are common. A tyre of a TMT bus caught fire on Sunday evening in Anand Nagar Depot. “The driver realized that the drum was fixed and hence movement was not possible. He shifted the passengers to another bus immediately and slowly drove the faulty bus to the depot. Due to increased heat, friction led to a minor fire,” Chandrashekhar Rane, deputy transport manager, said, adding that these are rare incidents and action will be taken accordingly against the respective contractor.
“Around 115 old buses were scrapped last year and around ₹4.86 crore was retrieved. Currently, there are around 79 old buses, of which 17 will be scrapped by December end. These buses can be scrapped only when they have either completed 12 years or run 8,00,000 kilometres. By February 2024, most of the old rattling buses will be gone. This was supposed to happen sooner as the delivery of a slot of these 123 e-buses was to occur in August 2023, but was delayed. Hence, the old buses are still in use.” he said.
The TMT is planning on constructing a new bus depot in Kopri and Kolshet to hold these increased numbers of buses. “Thane is expanding at a speed that must be admired. Hence, I often study the routes to ensure that the TMT service is helpful to the citizens because it’s their feedback that matters,” added Joshi.