Trolley buses to ply on Kolkata roads by December

If you are a resident of south Kolkata, chances are high you will have the privilege of travelling on comfortable, pollution-free trolley buses by the end of this year. And if you stay elsewhere, don’t lose heart. The transport department has plans to expand the network of trolley buses to other parts of the city soon.

If everything goes according to plans, these electricity-run trolley buses will start plying between Ballygunge and Tollygunge, where tram services had been suspended around a year back. The Ballygunge-Khidderpore route is the second in line to get these buses.

The transport department has decided to opt for trolley buses to make use of overhead wires of the tramways. After tram services were suspended in some parts of the city, the overhead wires were left unused for years. At many places, tracks have also been removed or have been covered with a coat of bitumen. But that won’t deter the introduction of trolley buses as these would ply on pneumatic tyres and no tracks will be required.

Top brass of the transport department feels these fuel-efficient buses will boost up the public transport system in a major way. “These electric buses will be of great help in routes where tram services have been suspended. Also, we don’t have to spend money for the tracks. We have made a proposal to the government for utilizing the overhead wires by running trolley buses. Now the state government is going to buy these trolley buses,” said CTC chairman Shantilal Jain. Tenders have already been floated for private players to bid for the supply of these buses.

“In some routes, poles with electric wires can be laid very quickly to introduce the trolley buses. It will be cheaper to run these vehicles. Maintenance cost will also be low,” said Jain. However, there will be an initial cost for setting up the power back-up system and the pantographs, a metal framework that ensure a smooth running of trolley buses. The department is in touch with German experts to bring in the technology for running trolley buses successfully.

Officials have pegged the cost of introducing the trolley buses at Rs 100 crore, with the cost of each bus ranging between Rs 30-40 lakh. Jain said the department was scouting for funds with the urban development ministry. JNNURM funds can also be used for buying these buses. “We are even looking for funds from the Asian Development Bank. We are preparing a project report for that,” Jain said. Around 10 buses will be introduced in the first place.

The erstwhile Left government had also planned to introduce trolley buses in the city. “But things did not materialize as there was lack of response as only three companies had expressed their interest to set up the trolley-bus system in Kolkata,” a transport official said.

Published in: on August 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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