New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): In a significant stride towards sustainable urban transportation, Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, announced on Friday that the Ministry has initiated the tendering process for the procurement of electric buses under the pioneering PM-eBus Sewa scheme. The bidding process, set to conclude by the end of this month, marks a crucial step in augmenting bus operations and fostering green mobility across cities.
Launched on August 16, 2023, the PM-eBus Sewa scheme aims to revolutionize public transportation by deploying 10,000 electric buses in cities devoid of any existing bus service. Distinguishing itself through a commitment to sustainability, an e-bus under this scheme is defined as one whose propulsion and accessory systems are exclusively powered by zero-emission electricity sources.
This ambitious scheme unfolds in two strategic segments. In 169 cities, the deployment of 10,000 e-buses will be facilitated through a public-private partnership (PPP) model, fostering collaboration between the government and private entities. Simultaneously, 181 other cities will witness infrastructure upgrades under the green urban mobility initiatives, ensuring a holistic approach to transforming the urban transportation landscape.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri expressed during a press conference, "Tenders have been floated to procure buses, and by the end of January, the bidding will be completed." The buses, available in three different sizes – 7 meters, 9 meters, and 12 meters – offer versatility to cater to the diverse needs of cities.
Keeping the spotlight on urban mobility, Minister Puri highlighted the remarkable milestone achieved by metro rail systems nationwide. Surpassing the landmark one crore daily ridership, these metro systems have become the backbone of efficient and sustainable mass transit. Notably, Delhi Metro, in particular, witnessed an impressive ridership of over 72 lakh passengers per day in August 2023. This not only underscores the increasing reliance on metro systems but also emphasizes the crucial role they play in easing urban congestion and reducing carbon footprints.
In a recent development, the Union government has demonstrated its commitment to inclusivity by amending the tender for the procurement of 3,600 electric buses under the PM-eBus Sewa scheme. Launched in 2023, this marks the first batch of electric buses, and the amendment includes 100 low-floor buses. This modification, introduced on December 29, 2023, addresses concerns raised by disability rights activists about the accessibility of the new buses.
The amended tender, floated by Convergence Energy Services Ltd (CESL) on behalf of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), specifically designates Chandigarh to receive 100 low-floor AC buses. The decision to include low-floor buses emerged from demands raised by states and Union Territories, showcasing a responsive approach to addressing accessibility concerns.
The ongoing initiatives under the PM-eBus Sewa scheme signify a transformative era in India's urban transportation landscape. As the bidding process progresses and accessibility becomes a focal point, the government's commitment to sustainable and inclusive mobility takes center stage. The convergence of green initiatives, ambitious targets, and accessibility enhancements propels India towards a future where urban mobility is not just efficient but also environmentally conscious and universally accessible.