In another initiative taken by the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), it is likely to launch electric buses in Vizag. So far, APSRTC has invited bids for the selection of fleet operators for procurement, operation and maintenance of the electric buses. Of the planned 350 electric buses for Andhra Pradesh, 100 will be given to Visakhapatnam.
It may be recalled that the APSRTC initially had plans for starting electric buses in December 2019 but the idea was deferred after the statutory Judicial Preview Commission asked it to drop the move, objecting to the payment of Rs 45 lakh as subsidy per bus. It was suggested for the RTC to purchase diesel buses of BS-VI standard rather than electric buses. However, as the cost of diesel has been increasing, coincidentally battery cost of an e-bus has reduced by 50 percent and hence, APSRTC has decided to resume their idea to launch electric buses. With the Government of India extending Phase-II of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) scheme in India till 30 June 2021, APSRTC is planning to avail the demand incentive of Rs 55 lakh per bus, as each electric bus costs around Rs 1.5 crore.
According to the Regional Manager of APSRTC Visakhapatnam MY Danam, “Vizag city has been allocated 100 electric buses. So far the bidding process is being taken up by the head office. Once we launch the electric buses, we would run them on all major routes.”
These electric buses will have a real-time Passenger Information System (PIS), Panic Buttons for emergencies, Automatic Bus Vehicle Location System, CCTV cameras, public address system, and Stop request fast buttons. There will be a charging station that will facilitate seamless bus operation in the routes running in the city. The introduction of electric buses is to give a smoother way of travel to the people of Vizag.