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Island city to get 40 electric buses

Sources said that these buses will be mainly operated in the island city - between Colaba and Sion/Mahim - using the electric supply from BEST cables.

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The island city will get 40 new electric buses, including 20 AC buses, which would be on hire basis. These would be hired on wet lease basis under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles (FAME) India scheme.

Sources said that these buses will be mainly operated in the island city - between Colaba and Sion/Mahim - using the electric supply from BEST cables. This comes at a time when the union already went on one-day strike over procuring 450 buses on wet-lease (hiring of buses) basis.

"It is most likely that we shall operate these electric buses in the island city. We shall be placing the charging points at our depots here and internally give supply through our cables," said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.

The BEST committee, on February 26, cleared the proposal of getting these electric buses on wet-lease basis at a cost of Rs 73 crore. There shall be 20 AC Midi buses and 20 non-AC Midi buses that shall be hired. "As per plans, the entire fleet would be of electric buses by 2030," said Surendra Bagde, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.

The Undertaking had asked for 100 electric buses from the Centre but have been allotted 40 buses. In all, seven states across the country have been allotted these electric buses. The BEST expects to save Rs 24.55 per km on non-AC Midi buses and Rs 21.13 per km on AC Midi buses. These buses will have a carrying capacity of around 53 people.

The buses will come with zero cost maintenance, fuel and driver, as it will be procured under a wet-lease model from a private contractor. The Centre is providing a total fund of Rs 105 crore under this scheme.

Meanwhile, BEST committee members warned the administration about a case underway at the Industrial Court. This happened after the BEST administration went against the BEST workers' union over their strike and now a hearing is scheduled for March 5.

CHALLENGES AHEAD 

The BEST committee warned the administration about a case underway at the Industrial Court which happened after the BEST went against the workers’ union over their strike and will be heard on March 5

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