The 450 electric bus project for Gurugram and Faridabad has been postponed.
Residents of Gurugram and Faridabad, eager to experience air-conditioned electric buses for mass transport, will have to wait longer as the tender allotted to a firm for supplying 100 of these buses has been scrapped by the Haryana transport department. The decision was taken by the state government after it was discovered that the selected firm lacked the financial capacity and prior experience in supplying buses to any transport authority in the country. As a result, the state government has written to the Department of Heavy Industries in the Union government to float a fresh tender for the project.
The joint state transport controller of the Haryana transport department, SP Parmar, explained that the Central government’s Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) would now be responsible for floating the new tender and finalizing the firm to supply 50 electric buses each to Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited (GMCBL) and Faridabad Metropolitan Development Authority (FMDA).
The original tender was meant to procure 450 buses for nine cities in Haryana, including Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak, Hisar, Rewari, as well as 100 buses for Gurugram and Faridabad. Out of the 450 buses, 375 electric buses of 12-meter length are expected to begin supply from August-end or the first week of September this year, with completion scheduled for March 2024. The work order for supplying these buses was already given to the selected firm on May 5.
However, the delay in procuring the 100 electric buses for Gurugram and Faridabad has caused some setbacks in the overall project timeline. Parmar estimated that the e-buses for these cities would take approximately 10-12 months to arrive. Once delivered, the buses will have a length of nine meters and will have a range of over 200 kilometres on a full charge, which takes around four hours in normal conditions. With fast charging, the buses can be charged up to 80% in just 45 minutes.
The adoption of electric buses in Gurugram and Faridabad promises to revolutionise public transportation in the region, significantly impacting the environment and the commuting experience. Transport officials have highlighted the tremendous significance of these eco-friendly vehicles as they aim to tackle critical issues such as air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion while offering commuters a comfortable and sustainable travel option.
The decision to introduce electric buses stems from the government’s commitment to promote green mobility and reduce the region’s environmental footprint. Recognizing the potential of electric vehicles, the Haryana government seized the opportunity offered by the Central government’s FAME-II (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles) scheme, which provides substantial incentives to encourage the adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles.
The selected firm responsible for supplying the electric buses will also take charge of essential aspects such as setting up charging stations, hiring drivers, ensuring regular maintenance, and managing energy bills. In support of this initiative, the government has pledged to provide the necessary civil infrastructure, including an 11 kV feeder line to power the charging stations. The GMCBL’s Sector 10A depot has been designated as the primary charging station for the e-buses, streamlining the charging process and ensuring efficient operations.
Interestingly, GMCBL had nearly finalised the procurement of 100 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses in the previous year, intending to use them as feeder services on narrow sector roads and bylanes. However, the project was eventually abandoned in favour of electric buses, capitalising on the eco-friendly benefits and financial incentives offered by the FAME-II scheme.
As of now, GMCBL operates a fleet of 200 non-AC and eight AC buses, with 50 non-AC buses already in service in Faridabad since August 2021. The addition of electric buses to the fleet marks a significant expansion of public transportation options, catering to a broader range of commuters while making strides towards achieving a more sustainable and greener transportation network.
However, the procurement of air-conditioned electric buses faced delays when the initial tender was scrapped due to concerns about the selected firm’s weak financial condition and lack of experience in supplying buses to transport authorities. This decision raised concerns among eager residents eagerly awaiting the deployment of these eco-friendly transportation options.
Nevertheless, the Haryana Transport Department has displayed a proactive approach to resolving the situation. The state government promptly requested the Department of Heavy Industries issue a fresh tender for the project, seeking a reliable and experienced firm to ensure the successful implementation of the electric bus initiative.
Once electric buses are delivered and integrated into the public transport system, they are poised to transform commuting experiences for the better. The environment will benefit from reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, as the buses produce zero tailpipe emissions. Additionally, traffic congestion is expected to ease as more commuters opt for the eco-friendly travel option.
Beyond environmental benefits, the introduction of electric buses aligns with the government’s commitment to creating a cleaner and healthier environment for all residents. The convenience of electric buses, coupled with their eco-friendly nature, is likely to encourage a higher number of people to opt for public transportation, further reducing the reliance on private vehicles and contributing to a more sustainable urban ecosystem.
In conclusion, the decision to introduce electric buses in Gurugram and Faridabad marks a significant step forward in advancing public transportation and reducing the region’s environmental impact. While the initial tender faced setbacks, the government’s determination to embrace green mobility has paved the way for a fresh tender, ensuring the selection of a capable firm to oversee the successful implementation of the electric bus project.
Once operational, electric buses will enhance mass transport in the cities, offering a comfortable, convenient, and eco-friendly commuting experience for all residents. This shift towards electric buses exemplifies the government’s commitment to creating a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future for the region.