Here are 10 facts about the emission-free electric buses:
The electric buses require three hours to charge and can run for 200 km at a stretch. So far, the electric point is set only at the Backbay Depot.
The buses are run only on electric charge and will help in reducing air and noise pollution. It will also cut fuel costs for the loss-making undertaking.
Initially, the buses are scheduled to ply on routes around Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) and Churchgate station including Route Number 138 from Backbay depot to CSMT and the Fort Ferry route.
The buses, purchased with assistance of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cost Rs 1.61 crore each, more than double the price of regular buses.
The buses have a capacity of 30 people and the bus fare will be same as CNG buses, officials said.
Over the years, BEST has struggled with its finances. The BMC had earlier sanctioned Rs 100 crore to the BEST for buses and these buses have been purchased with the allotted money.
BEST officials said that Rs 90 crore was used to buy 185 regular buses, and the remaining Rs 10 crore were used to buy electric buses from Goldstone Group which are being introduced today.
If the electric buses are successful then the undertaking will look at buying more buses and use them in the suburbs too, which are usually on feeder routes that connect localities to the railway stations, said official.
BEST had moved to CNG to cut costs, but the subsequent hikes in the CNG prices has not helped in bringing down its expenditure on fuel. BEST has around 3,400 buses and spends a considerable amount of money from its budget on fuel alone.
With the introduction of electric buses, Mumbai will become the second city in Maharashtra to experiment with electric buses after Nagpur. Himachal Pradesh has also introduced these buses which travel between Kullu-Manali-Rohtang Pass.