TN government to procure over 2k diesel amd 500 electric buses with 80 pc funding from KfW
The State Transport Minister RS Rajakannappan, on Wednesday, said the State govt will procure 2,213 new diesel buses and 500 electric buses with funding from German Development Bank (KfW).
“To replace the aged buses by way of putting new buses, the State government has entered into an agreement with the KfW to procure 12,000 BS-VI buses and 2,000 electric buses, commencing from the year 2021 in a span of five years. the cost-sharing ratio will be 80 per cent by KfW as an interest-free loan and 20 per cent by the government of Tamil Nadu. In the first and second phase, 2,213 diesel buses and 500 electric buses are to be purchased,” the Minister said.
Lockdown and ridership loss impact public transport revenue
Passengers using public transport has drastically reduced from 2019-20 to 2020-21 due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The Transport Minister said the State transport undertaking buses provide connectivity to villages that have a minimum population of 1,000.
“Almost all areas in urban habitations, inter-district and inter-State to the neighbouring states are connected on a wider scale and transported about 1.3142 crore passengers every day in 2019-20. It dropped temporarily to about 0.7 crore per day in 2020-21 due to the impact of COVID-19,” he said.
He said public transport ridership again dropped in the first quarter of 2021-22 and reached 0.76 crore per day in July 2021.
About the financial performance, the Minister said the Pandemic caused huge losses due to complete lockdown in 2019-20 and 2020-21. “Buses were halted for eight days in 2019-20, 141 days in 2020-21 and 42 to 56 days in 2021-22,” he added.
Small buses to be converted into feeder services
The Transport Minister said 144 small buses will be operated as feeder services to Chennai Metro Rail stations.
He added that 210 small buses were in operation in Chennai but now only 66 are running. The remaining 144 are off roads due to low patronage, resulting in heavy losses.
To utilise them in a better way, these small buses will be operated as feeder services to Metro Rail stations, which will increase the ridership of Metro trains and will bring revenue to MTC.
The Minister also said the agreement for cleaning buses was fixed at Rs 68 per bus in the previous AIADMK regime but now an agreement was signed for Rs 33. Due to the excess rate paid, transport corporations incurred a loss of Rs 13 cr in the previous regime.