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Kerala: State road transport utility to get 1,500 electric buses on lease
Switching over to a more eco-friendly option, Kerala state road transport corporation (KSRTC) will soon induct 1,500 electric buses in its fleet. A total of 500 electric buses will be allotted to Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kozhikode zones each. KSRTC has invited tenders for 12 metre non-AC electric buses (battery operated) on wet lease and dry lease basis for ten years. In wet lease, the bidder has to provide the buses along with driver and KSRTC will deploy its conductor, while in dry lease, KSRTC will deploy the driver and conductor. KSRTC will choose the type of contract considering its feasibility. The buses will have 40 seats. The range of distance covered by buses on single charge will be 250 km. The power consumption is 1.5kwh per km. The bidder will have to provide charging device (one charging unit for every two buses). Among the other facilities, LED display boards in the front, rear end and left side of the bus, luggage space, mobile charging points, WiFi and GPS have been demanded by KSRTC. Offering a disable-friendly transportation, the buses will be wheelchair accessible with wheelchair locking facility. The buses are proposed to be operated as moffusil or city services in Thiruvananthapuram zone. "These electric buses will replace the buses powered by diesel engine operating in the city. As these are non-AC buses, it is likely that ordinary bus fare will be charged from passengers," said an official from KSRTC. KSRTC is already operating ten AC electric buses as intercity services. Transport department has also decided to reissue the tender for contract carriages on wet lease. It was the demand for more interstate services from KSRTC that led the transport corporation to hire contract carriages. "As the previous tender did not receive any response, KSRTC has been directed to change the period of contract from three months to one year. KSRTC and the bus manufacturers need to check the feasibility," said A K Saseendran, transport minister.