KOLKATA: To curb both air and noise pollution levels, 80 electric buses will start plying in the city next month. These noiseless, zero-pollution vehicles will hit the streets in phases. If they run successfully, the state transport department will gradually add more such buses to the fleet under West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC).
“These environment-friendly buses are symbols of future mobility. They do not require conductors to collect fares. The state is deciding on a uniform rate to simplify the automatic fare collection system,” said a transport department officer.
“We want to see the versatility of these buses in long run. The days are not far when our entire fleet will have such environment-friendly buses,” a senior official of the department said. E-buses could provide the state an opportunity to replace the diesel fleet that draws a lot of flak from the National Green Tribunal.
Almost half of the 20 lakh vehicles that ply in the city run on diesel. Of this, around 2 lakh are commercial vehicles.
While 30 battery chargers are being bought for the terminals, 10 fast or turbo battery chargers will be placed along the routes for emergency. The routes will be charted out in such a way that a bus can make three round trips after one full charge. The government is considering installing rooftop solar cells that can recharge the batteries on the run.
Though the cost of these buses are comparatively higher than the normal ones but the running and maintenance cost is considerably low
The proposition of playing videos inside these buses is also being looked into. Public feedback would be taken before it’s implemented. Other than playing songs, the screens would also promote government projects and apprise commuters of other important information like the route on which the buses would be plying.
There will be sufficient space for passengers to stand while travelling. The e-buses procured by Hidco and Coal India are already plying in New Town.