Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will be receiving an electric bus (e-bus) prototype by 10th August. Earlier to the second wave of the COVID-19, the corporation had selected NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd. as an operator to run a total of 90 non-AC e-buses under the Bengaluru Smart City Project launched on 25th June 2015. Due to the deadly second wave, the operator could not provide the e-buses.
Officials stated that by 10th August, a prototype of the e-bus would be provided by the operator, according to the stipulations mentioned in the tender. The prototype will be operated on the city's roads.
As per the statement of an official, the operator will be supplying a 9-metre-long 31-seat e-bus. After receiving the e-bus, it will be operated on the city's roads to examine whether the vehicle has been built per the specifications mentioned in the tender. If the buses are validated, the operator will provide the rest of the e-buses in batches. The corporation is likely to get all the 90 e-buses in six months.
Gross Cost Contract (GCC)
The BMTC has announced that it will operate the e-buses on a Gross Cost Contract (GCC) basis. The corporation will pay Rs 51 per kilometre as the operational cost to the operator, which will also include power consumption.
Along with the Smart City project, the corporation is also planning to operate e-buses under the FAME II scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles in India). At the same time, a tender was floated previously, but it was rejected by the BMTC, as the operational cost quoted by bidders was not feasible.
The corporation had plans to operate 300 AC e-buses under FAME II. However, after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of the AC e-buses remained off the roads, forcing the BMTC to add a variation to their plans and float a tender for operating 300 non-AC e-buses. According to the sources, tender evaluation is still in progress.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also hit the plan of operating 1,500 diesel buses through a private operator. The tender, however, was floated in March 2021. It was stated that the date for bid submission had been postponed citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to lease the buses from private operators is opposed by employees' unions, who accused the Karnataka government of laying the foundation for privatisation of the road transport corporation.