In a first, a Kolkata-based company has claimed to have launched a biogas-fuelled bus, keeping a flat fare of just Re 1. According to reports, this is the first biogas-fuelled bus in the entire southeast Asia.
Notably, now old buses which have run for 15 or 20 years, can also be given a fresh lease of life with this clean and cheap fuel. Phoenix India Research is planning to roll out four more such buses in the current month and another ten by the end of this year.
Interestingly, all buses will have a flat fare of Re 1 irrespective of the distance, even in excess of 40 km. Presently, the lowest fare in a Kolkata bus is Rs 6.
The first bus will run 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 fund. The salary of drivers and conductors will be given from advertisements that will be put up on the body of the bus.
The company has got the permission to set up 100 fuel pumps. The first pump will come up at Ultadanga. It has also tied up with heavy vehicle major Ashok Leyland to manufacture the 54-seater bus at a cost of Rs 13 lakh approximately.
The government has also welcomed this move and has said that it will issue the permit if the company fulfils all laws and norms of the Centre.
Earlier, the company had conducted a three months’ trial in Delhi, running a biogas bus to overcome teething troubles and expressed confidence in making bio-gas buses commercially viable for both short and long distance.
The company is an approved bio-gas company by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO),
having plants at Gujarat and West Bengal.
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