A number of developments in the Indian bus space are highlighting opportunities as well as the challenges that lie in front.

Story by Team CV
Goa’s Kadamba Transport Corporation is in the final stages of requisitioning private buses to run on two routes – Ponda to Panaji and Margao to Canacona. This move, the state public transport undertaking thinks, will help instil operational discipline and weed out competition. Operating 11 e-buses currently, the organisation is in the process of ramping up the fleet to 30. It is also working on building the supporting infrastructure parallelly. More e-buses are being rolled out in Patna after positive response from the commuters. Mentioned an industry source that airconditioned e-buses will ply on route number 222 between Gandhi Maidan and AIIMS-Patna, on route number 555 to Patna City, and on route number 888 to IIT-Patna. He said that the e-buses plying from Gandhi Maidan to Patna airport and Danapur since the beginning of March 2021 have received very good response. Close to 20,000 people have commuted daily since its inception, he added.
enders for another 575 air-conditioned e-buses have been floated in Delhi. By the end of the current year, 1000 e-buses are set to debut in the capital city of India. The number hints at a shift from CNG-buses (3,762 numbers approximately) as a mainstay to e-buses at a time when Indraprastha Gas Ltd. (IGL) has signed a long-term (10-year) agreement to supply CNG to DTC. Interestingly, the vendor for 300 low-floor e-buses out of the 1300 such vehicles DTC is keen to acquire has been finalised. He will supply 12 m long low-floor air-conditioned buses equipped with features like real-time passenger information system, CCTVs, panic buttons, GPS, etc. The first batch of e-buses has begun plying on the BRTS routes in Rajkot. Under FAME, the centre had approved 50 e-buses for Rajkot in August 2019. The e-buses have been procured on a gross contract with the civic body making payments on a per km basis besides providing electricity charging facilities and bearing the electricity cost. According to an industry source, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is working to induct 1,500 buses on lease basis. These would include non-AC diesel buses on a gross contract basis. A tender for the same is also in the final stages, the sources added.

The city of Lucknow has introduced air-conditioned e-buses for its residents. Aimed at providing a better commuting medium for the city’s residents and ensure good air quality, Lucknow has introduced 40 e-buses. In the coming months the number of e-buses in the city is expected to be ramped up to 700 numbers. Supporting infrastructure in the form of charging stations is also being put in place. With the second wave of Covid-19 indicating virus mutation and in the process a faster spread, the bus industry in India is staring at an uncertain future. It is not that the future was certain, the second wave has made it even more tough for us to stay in business, expressed a private tourist bus operator from Pune on the condition of not divulging his name. Pointing at the fall in performance since May last year when the first wave of Covid spread through out the nation, he said that many private players have already perished with no business to rely upon. The second wave risks to take more players out of the field. Despite the local and state governments providing support to private bus operators, and the market showing good progress from the beginning of the 2021 calendar year, private bus operators continue to be hit by factors such as social distancing and the failure of offices and schools to operate at full strength..

Tata Motors’ new bus ad

On the eve of Ramadan, Tata Motors has released an ad that speaks of trust, optimism, solace, righteousness and good deeds. It starts by showing a company owner stranded on a desolate (Middle Eastern) desert stretch after his luxury car breaks down. His senior employee travelling in the (left-hand drive) Tata company bus spots him and signals the driver to stop and reverse. He gets down and rushes to the boss. Some younger employees also follow. The senior employee summons one of them, a young engineer, to repair the luxury car. He checks and diagnoses the fault – a burnt relay. The car has to be sent to the workshop he informs. Sensing the boss’ irritation, the senior employee suggests him to ride the company bus so that he is not late for iftar. Upon reaching his mansion, the boss invites his employees on the bus to his mansion. He introduces them to his family and asks them to join him for iftar.

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