The bus is claimed to be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia
Kolkata now has the distinction of launching the first biogas-fuelled bus, offering the lowest-ever fare.
“We are first to launch a biogas bus anywhere in the entire Southeast Asia. Now, old buses, which have run for up to 15 or 20 years, can also be given a fresh lease of life with this clean, efficient and cheap fuel technology. And we are in the process of seeking government approval for this,” says Jyoti Prakash Das, Chairman and Managing Director, Phoenix India Research.
Four more buses will be rolled out before this month’s end and another 10 by the year-end, Das adds. The fare will be a flat Re 1, irrespective of the distance. Currently, the lowest fare in a Kolkata bus is Rs 6.
The first bus will cover a distance of 17 km between Ultadanga and Garia in the southern fringes of the city, and Phoenix India will run the biogas service from its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) fund.
On the pricing and permit issues, West Bengal Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari says, “It is a welcome development. We will issue permit if the company fulfils all laws and norms laid down by the Centre.”
According to Das, a three-month trial of the bus has also been undertaken in Delhi and all teething troubles have been overcome. He is confident of making biogas buses commercially viable for both short and long distance.
“In Delhi, CNG buses cannot go on long haul due to fuel tank constraints. We have been able to overcome this hurdle. The biogas bus can run up to six kilometres on one kilogram,” he says.
Phoenix India claims to be a biogas technology firm that has approval from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO). It has plants in Gujarat and West Bengal.
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