Very soon, 150-200 e-Buses are being introduced in the transport sector in a phased manner under the Smart Urban e-Mobility Project. Most of the e-buses are set to commence operations in winter capital and its adjoining districts in August this year. As per reports, necessary infrastructure is being created and would be in place before the start of the project.
Last year, the Lieutenant Governor said that the Government was committed to provide quality transport facilities to the public in J&K and that the “unprecedented augmentation” of the public transport system will boost revenue generation as more and more viable and lucrative routes will be included in the operational network of transportation.
Electric buses in India have mixed feedback on the technology. While some consider the e-bus rollout fruitful, others have faced challenges in smoothly operating them due to their limited driving range. Some experts say that the actual on-road performance of electric buses is substantially lower than the assured ranges indicated by electric buses. However, some governments have found that electric buses’ deployment more successful on low-frequency and less congested routes.
There are mainly four reasons to switch to electric buses –reduced pollutant emissions; lowered fiscal deficits due to oil; limited operating costs, and; decreased greenhouse effect. These are typical in Jammu and Kashmir but the switch to e-buses must be well calibrated.
The government needs to carefully weigh up all options. There is no doubt that there is a need for augmenting the public transport but it must be more reliable.
Although the initial investment is higher, electric buses have lower operational and maintenance costs compared to conventional buses powered by diesel or petrol.
While e-buses seem to be the future, all technical aspects need to be practically put to test before they are introduced on a large scale.
The introduction of electric buses in the fleet is a step toward ensuring a clean environment and securing a sustainable energy future. Efforts to reduce the pollution are welcome and must be encouraged. However, dependability factors must be factored in as it will define the long run of the transport system in weather and road dependent J&K.
There are numerous challenges and one of them is limited charging infrastructure which needs to be addressed for ensuring the success of the e-buses project. The success of the project can pave the way for a comprehensive transformation towards electric vehicles on all routes across Jammu and Kashmir.