The Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) plans to introduce 100 air-conditioned electric buses to the city and surrounding areas in order to provide inhabitants with seamless, environmentally friendly transportation.
According to an NMMT spokesperson, the buses should be on the road in five months. Private bus operators have submitted proposals to the civic body for the delivery, operation, and maintenance of electric buses.
The buses will be operated on a Gross Contract Cost (GCC) basis, meaning that the operator will be paid a flat fee depending on the number of kilometres covered, while the NMMT would get the entire revenue. The bus company will cover the cost of the electricity used to charge the buses.
The NMMT will fund the initiative with a grant from the central government under the Fame scheme. It intends to run a nine-metre-long bus for 240 to 280 kilometres every day. It will feature charging, parking, and bus maintenance areas, as well as a bus depot at specific places.
The operating agreement will last 12 years, with conditional assessments every eight years based on third-party inspections of the buses’ roadworthiness, overall quality of the structure, and chassis assembly.
“We have received three bids and their technical evaluation is on. The buses should be on the road in five months as there is no specialisation required,” according to Yogesh Kaduskar, the NNMT transport manager.
As part of the deployment strategy, the NMMT will have the only authority to establish the routes, frequency, and schedules of the buses. The operators must only operate on the operational routes, which the NMMT has the authority to change.
The rates for all 100 buses will be finalised, but they will be introduced in two phases — 50 buses this year and 50 next year — to help the officials get the lowest rate due to the maximum utilisation of assured kilometres. It will save the transport authority Rs. 8.7 crore, claimed Kaduskar. He further added that the introduction of new buses, all of which are air-conditioned, will provide quality service to residents as the old buses are phased out. It will also be a step towards making the city more environmentally friendly.
Afsar Imam, a social worker, welcomed the decision, saying, with the increase in population leading to high demand, the NMMT needs to augment its fleet quickly to cater to the passengers. The GCC approach works well and will ensure that the new buses provide great service to passengers, and the contractor will be fined for any service deficiencies.