The buses will only ply on routes around Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) and Churchgate station for now. This is because each bus requires three hours of charge to run 200 km, and charging points have only been set at Backbay Depot at present, BEST spokesperson Mr. Hanumant Gophane said.
Costing ₹1.61 crore each, these 30-seater buses were purchased with financial assistance from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“The BMC granted us ₹100 crore to the BEST to purchase buses. Of this, ₹90 crore was used to buy 185 regular BEST buses, and the remaining ₹10 crore were used to buy six electric buses from Goldstone Group,” Mr. Gophane said.
The debt-ridden BEST has justified the purchase of these buses, which cost more than double compared to a regular bus, as an environment-friendly initiative. The undertaking does not have the funds to purchase the required number of regular buses, and is in the process of renting private buses. It has been asked to increase ticket rates and cut down on welfare schemes to reduce losses.
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray, kicked off the service at an event held on Friday 10th November at Wadala Depot.”Election Promise fulfilled and a personal dream for Mumbai: the Electric Bus. I congratulate the BEST for launching the fully electric, zero-emission bus in BEST public transport today,” said Aaditya.
“I see this as a historic step to curb pollution & emissions in our city, especially in a world facing global warming, pollution issues. Proud to be the 1st city in Maharashtra to launch this, hope the race heats up for good environment,” Aaditya added while addressing the media.
“Initially from today, BEST has decided to introduce four electric midi non-ac buses in the city and will initially ply in South Mumbai,” said a senior BEST official.
“These electric buses create zero noise pollution and a win-win situation for all of us. We have rolled out these buses at a time when most of the cities of the countries are facing severe air pollution and majority of the pollution is caused due to vehicles,” he said.
Goldstone Infratech, the manufacture of the bus, while issuing a statement said the lithium-ion battery operated bus can operate up to 200 km in one charge and it will provide safe, comfortable and emission-free travel.ENDS
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