On board Delhi’s first electric bus: ‘Noise-free, easy to drive, futuristic’

Delhi: 19 Jan, 2022 (The Indian Express)

While there is only one electric bus plying right now, the government plans to acquire 300 more by April, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said Monday.


Aboard the capital’s first electric bus, Tuesday. (Express Photo)

Tilak Raj (48) has been driving on city roads for 25 years. He started with blue line buses, and until recently was driving private cluster buses. Now, Raj is the driver of Delhi’s first electric bus.

Bus E-44 was operational between IP Depot and Pragati Maidan Monday. It will be a circular bus service from DTC’s (Delhi Transport Corporation) Indraprastha depot via ITO, AGCR, Tilak Marg, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place, Janpath, Rajesh Pilot Marg, Prithvi Raj Road, Aurobindo Marg, AIIMS, Ring Road, South Extension, Ashram, Bhogal, Jangpura, India Gate, High Court, Pragati Maidan and will terminate at IP depot.

On Monday, Raj made two complete trips on the route, an experience very different from driving ordinary buses. “The best thing is, it is completely noise-free, and it is incredibly easy to drive. It does not require as much effort, and one can drive for many more hours without feeling tired. On top of that, it’s emission-free,” he said.

Amit Kumar (31), a DTC conductor of two years, who is now assigned to the electric bus, also said the electric bus was much better. “Earlier, there used to be too much sound because of the engine at the back. And there was also heat from the engine. On this bus, there is no such issue. And of course, these buses are the future since it will counter pollution,” he said.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahalot during an event to flag off Delhi Transport Corporation's (DTC's) first electric bus. (PTI)

On Tuesday, a passenger who boarded from IP Metro station appreciated the facilities on the vehicle. “It looks good and has very comfortable seats. The bus doesn’t make any sound and the best part is that it’s totally pollution-free,” he said.

The E-44 service will be available from 5.30 am to 8.20 pm every day. The bus charges from a 240 KW fast charger, and takes between 1 and 1.5 hours for a complete charge. As of now, there is only one charger at IP depot but there are plans to install more at each depot once more buses are added to the fleet.

At most, two buses can charge from one charger but the time to charge doubles, resulting in a charging time of around 2-3 hours, a DTC official said.

While there is only one electric bus plying right now, the government plans to acquire 300 more by April, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said Monday. The ultimate plan is to purchase 2,000 e-buses in the coming years.

The buses have kneeling ramps for differently abled and special pink seats for women. They are equipped with CCTV cameras, connected to a 2-way central command and control centre at Kashmere Gate along with 10 panic buttons on each bus and a hooter. There are ‘stop’ buttons, which alert driver when passengers want to alight. The bus also has a provision whereby the kneeling ramp lowers by 60 millimetres to open more effectively for physically challenged passengers.