NWKRTC plans to get 50 electric buses
Although Hubballi-Dharwad could not become the first city in Karnataka to have electric buses under the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), the North-Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) has now planned to operate and maintain 50 electric buses. by the private actors themselves.
After the plan to have electric buses under BRTS was scrapped due to the Covid situation, which also did not allow the BRTS passenger load to cross a lakh a day, the leasing-like plan of to have electric buses in public transport in the twin cities have sprung up. This time not for BRTS, but for intra-city and inter-city routes that would only have NWKRTC drivers.
Karnataka has already launched electric buses through BMTC in Bengaluru, and now the NWKRTC board meeting has decided to implement a similar plan with 50 electric buses. A decision in this regard was taken at the board meeting chaired by NWKRTC Chairman VS Patil and it was also decided to submit a proposal to the Ministry of Transport shortly for government approval. . This decision has come to prominence at a time when the NWKRTC needs more buses to expand its services as it has had no new buses for the past two years, and there is a restriction on the purchase of new buses due to austerity measures.
“We will not be purchasing electric buses. After obtaining government approval, tenders would be launched for suppliers who are to supply nine-meter-long AC-free electric buses for fixed years. The driver, maintenance, charging and other maintenance work would be their responsibility. NWKRTC would have its drivers and the operator would be paid according to the kilometers driven each day,” NWKRTC Managing Director Gurudatta Hegde explained.
Electric buses would not only be environmentally friendly, but would also be cheaper with government incentive and increasing technology, and also improve connectivity. It is planned to route them to different localities in the twin cities and, if possible, on feasible intercity routes like Hubballi-Belagavi, he said. DH.
Land in PPP
The NWKRTC, which is continually incurring losses, has devised a plan to obtain revenue by allowing public-private partnership (PPP) projects on its prime lands in the major cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and Belagavi.
About 20 such locations with more than 20 acres of land have been identified. After getting government approval, private companies would be invited to develop projects such as hospitals, shopping complexes and other projects with several conditions including project duration, and the NWKRTC would get revenue, they said. officials said.
Commenting on the issue of shopkeepers not showing interest in coming to the shops at the recently built CBT complex in Hubballi due to the high rent rate, Gurudatta Hegde noted that the rent would be revised. Some of the NWKRTC offices may also be moved there so that their existing location can be used for PPP projects or rented out for revenue, Hegde added.
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