PMPML, considering the operational advantages as well as low cost of fuel, decided to raise its fleet with 500 electric buses.
With the state government of Maharashtra making it mandatory for all government, civic and zilla parishad officials to use electric vehicles as their transport mode, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), the transport undertaking of the city, is preparing to step up acquisition. The transport undertaking of Pune was among the first few public transport bodies to acquire e-buses. PMPML, considering the operational advantages as well as low cost of fuel, decided to raise its fleet with 500 electric buses. At present, the transport undertaking has a fleet of 1,305 buses that are owned by it. In addition to this, it has 900 buses that were taken on contract from private players and also run by them under the guidelines set by the PMPML administration. Of the total buses, PMPML has as many as 150 electric buses. The rest of the buses are either diesel or CNG ones. Most of the private contracts are either electric or buses, according to an IE report.
PMPML chief coordinator Sunil Burse was quoted in the report saying PMPML is in the process of roping in 500 more electric buses to add to its fleet of 150 electric buses. According to officials, PMPML will not buy the buses with its own funds as it will not be able to shoulder the cost amid depleting finances. They further mentioned, each PMPML electric bus costs around Rs 2 crore, while a diesel bus’s cost is around Rs 45 lakh. Due to high cost, PMPML will rope in contractors.
For PMPML, the biggest advantage electric buses provide is on the breakdown front. Since one and a half year, when the transport undertaking started roping in electric buses, these buses’ breakdown is almost zero. According to PMPML Chief Engineer Anant Waghmare, a couple of electric buses may have broken down but that is due to flat tyres. There have been nearly zero breakdowns of electric buses otherwise.
For years, buses of PMPML, especially the diesel-run buses have given bus riders a nightmare with breakdowns becoming too common. Earlier, PMPML used to record over 30 breakdowns a day. Waghmare said, because of the presence of electric buses in PMPML’s fleet now, the breakdowns have come down to 20 per day. With the availability of more electric buses, there will be a significant reduction in the breakdown of buses, said Waghmare. PMPML’s fuel expenditure has also reduced because of electric buses.
The diesel buses’ per kilometre cost is Rs 30 while for CNG buses, it is Rs 20. For electric buses, the per kilometre cost is Rs 10 an hour. An e-bus has to be recharged for three hours, following which, it can be operated for 150 km. For an electric bus’s charging of three hours, PMPML incur an expenditure of approximately Rs 1,500. For the transport undertaking, the expenditure to run a diesel bus is Rs 4,500 for a distance of 150 km, which shows how much it can save on electric buses, he added.