Rs 62 lakh earned in 45 days: e-buses in Pune a hit
Air-conditioned buses, having same fare as non-AC variant, are used by 500 passengers daily
The electric buses (e-buses) service started by Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has received good response in the city during the first 45 days of its launch, according to statistics shared by the public transport authority.
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited started the service with 25 e-buses in the city from February 13 has earned ₹62 lakh through ticket fare.
The e-buses are currently running on seven different routes in the city attracting good response from the commuters, said officials even as transport activists have raised issues about the maintenance of these buses and fear that they might end up in the workshops if not maintained well.
The air-conditioned buses, having the same ticket fare as other non-AC buses, are witnessing 500 passengers daily, which according to officials, is a positive sign.
PMPML spokesperson Subhash Gaikwad said, “We have been running 25 e-buses on seven routes in Pune and Pimpri Chichwad. There has been good response so far.
“We are expecting more people to use the e-buses during the summer months.”
According to the officials, the 25 buses are 9 metre in length, which has seating capacity of 32 seats and can carry 50 passengers. Since the e-buses ply in the day, they are charged in the night at two charging stations created at two depots — Nigdi and Bhekrainagar.
The e-buses take four hours to charge fully and can travel a distance of 225 kilometres on a single charge. The e-buses are fitted with power bank to handle emergency situations when the batteries run out when in service. The contractor is responsible for maintenance of the e-buses.
Commuters are happy to travel by e-buses, according to officials. “I travel by PMPML e-bus on Bhekrainagar – Narveer Tanaji Wadi route. The bus is clean and is air-conditioned. It is comfortable to travel by AC buses as it is a better option to travel, said Vipul Alekar,a commuter .
“The speed of the e-bus is slow compared to other PMPML buses and also the capacity of passengers is less. During rush hours, the number of passengers increases and all the buses get over loaded. It has to be accepted that the seats and facilities in the e-bus are better than other PMPML buses,” said Jeetendra Bhagwat, another commuter .
The activists are however cautious about reacting to the performance of e-buses.
“It is good that these new airconditioned buses are added to the PMPML fleet. Advanced technology is used and passengers can travel in these e-buses without getting disturbed by noise. In summer season, passengers find it comfortable to travel by AC buses. Most of the CNG buses are in the workshop because they have not been maintained properly. I fear that the same should not happen with the e-buses too.
“Maintenance is the key for the success of the programme,” said Jugal Rathi, president, PMP Pravasi Manch.
Rathi asked if the PMPML administration or the contractors have the technology to maintain e-buses which have higher technology and is depended on power.
“If the e-buses are not maintained well and end up in financial loss, then the burden of the loss will fall on the commuters as each bus costs ₹1.5 crore and they are planning to get 300 more,” said Rathi.