Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal flagged off 150 electric buses on Tuesday and announced that the national capital will boast of 2,000 more such buses by next year.
The chief minister said the Delhi government is planning to spend Rs 1,862 crores on procuring electric buses over the next 10 years.
Kejriwal also thanked the Centre for providing Rs 150 crore for the e-bus project.
Three new EV charging depots built at a cost of around Rs 150 crores were also inaugurated.
This launch has marked the beginning of a new era in the transport sector, ushering in the age of more and more electric buses on Delhi’s roads and curb pollution on a large scale, the chief minister said.
“One hundred fifty new buses have been launched today, and next month another 150 will be added to the fleet.
“It is our target to have 2,000 electric buses running on the roads in Delhi within the next one year, and our government is dedicating itself to work in this direction,” he said.
The induction of 150 electric buses equipped with state-of-art features, including CCTV cameras, panic button and GPS, into the DTC’s fleet on Tuesday has come after almost 11 years when the public transporter procured buses on such a large number.
In addition, the government also plans to procure 600-700 CNG buses. The DTC board had approved the induction of 785 buses recently.
“Delhi’s fleet has now crossed 7,200 buses. This is the highest increase in the history of Delhi, there were never so many buses on the roads of Delhi till date. We aim to transform Delhi’s bus fleet into an all electric fleet and are trying our best to induct only electric buses,” he said.
The chief minister flagged off the buses from the Indraprastha Depot and boarded one of them to reach the Rajghat Cluster Bus Depot. He was accompanied by Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot and chief secretary Naresh Kumar.
“Despite the fact that the bus that I sat in today was swarmed with people, the AC was still very effective. I recall my days during the andolan when I would travel in buses quite often that had ACs which would barely work.
“The people of Delhi have welcomed a new addition to their lives in the form of these electric buses, and for them to take full advantage of this opportunity, we have made rides free for the next three days. They are your buses, I urge you to travel and enjoy – to take a joyride on these electric buses, while also taking care by not littering or damaging them,” he said.
The Delhi Government has started the #IrideEbus Campaign to promote maximum adoption of electric buses by the people of Delhi, an official statement said.
Under the campaign, the Delhi government has organised a public contest which will go on till June 30 to promote its e-buses and encourage more people to travel on them and spread the word, it said.
Along with the free rides, the Delhi government has urged its citizens to ride its e-buses, take a selfie, post it with the hashtag #IrideEbus on their Instagram, Twitter and Facebook handles. The top three entries will have chances to win an iPad, it said.
Kicking-off the campaign, Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi, “Delhi has written a new chapter in its fight against pollution today. From today, 150 electric AC buses have started running on the roads of Delhi. I also travelled in the bus, and experienced its modern facilities. Everyone must also travel once in Delhi’s luxurious electric buses. #IrideEbus.”
With the addition of these buses, the total number of buses in Delhi has gone up to 7,205. These include 3,912 DTC buses and 3,293 cluster buses, it said.
At the same time, the Delhi government has built three electric depots in Rohini Sector 37, Mundelakalan and Rajghat-2 to accommodate electric buses.
Thirty-two charging stations have been built in Mundela Kalan depot at a cost of Rs 24 crore. There are 48 charging stations in Rohini Sector-37 depot built with an investment of Rs 120 crore, it said.
Recently, the Transport Department has also finalised the bid for 330 electric buses, which will be included within four to six months, the statement said.
By the end of the year, the DTC will induct 1,500 electric buses in its fleet. Twelve e-bus depots are also being built for these 1,500 e-buses, the work of which will be completed in the next one year, the statement said.
Kejriwal also welcomed new Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and said, “Just like we worked with Anil Baijal (former LG), we will work together to take Delhi to new heights.