BMTC won’t scrap aged buses

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is keen to give a fresh lease of life to its aged Volvo AC buses. Nagaraju Yadav, chairman, BMTC, plans to convert aged diesel-run Volvo AC buses to electric buses. However, officials in the Corporation are skeptical about the proposal. As per the policy of the Corporation, once a Volvo AC bus crosses 10 lakh kilometres or operated for a period of 10 years, it should be scrapped.

The BMTC started inducting Volvo AC buses in 2006. At present, the BMTC has a fleet of 825 buses, several of which have crossed the 10-year mark, but have not yet been junked.

“The Corporation is in the process of inducting 150 electric buses on a lease basis. In addition to this, we are planning to convert aged Volvo buses into electric buses. Retrofitting these buses will help the Corporation to operate them for some more years. The chassis and interiors of the bus are in good condition, and only the engine needs to be changed,” Mr. Yadav said.

On the other hand, BMTC has already taken a decision to retrofit 100 Tata Marcopolo buses to run on electric battery power. In January 2015, the State government decided to scrap these buses after the Corporation incurred an operational loss of over Rs. 50 crore. But there were no takers for the buses, and they are still in the company’s workshop.

“We were shocked when higher-ups in the Corporation made the proposal to convert the diesel AC buses into electric buses,” a BMTC official said.

While the Tata Marcopolo has been lying unused for a long time, there are various technological challenges involved in retrofitting a Volvo AC bus to run on battery power, the official explained. The official said, “Unlike KSRTC, we have not scrapped any of the Volvo buses. KSRTC operates Volvo buses on long-distance routes. But in the city, the number of kilometres operated is comparatively less.

“Though there was a decision to scrap Tata Marcopolo buses, no decision has been taken to scrap aged Volvo buses.”