The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has announced plans to run 10 electric buses for pilgrims to travel to Sabarimala when the temple opens for the annual ‘mandala’ pooja festivities on Friday evening.
These buses, manufactured in India by Olectra Greentech in conjunction with BYD Auto, were flagged off by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for their commercial run in the state. Earlier, the KSRTC had run these buses on a trial basis between Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram to gauge its user-friendly features as well as its commercial viability. The buses were seen to show a viable path for the cash-strapped transporter to boost its fortunes, especially on long-distance routes.
This is the first time these buses, which let out zero emissions and are known to be noiseless, are being deployed on the Sabarimala route. The eBuzz K9 model had successfully been tested on high altitude terrains like Kullu-Manali-Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh. The air-conditioned low floor buses can seat up to 32 passengers and runs on Lithium ion batteries. On a single charge, the bus can travel 250 kms depending on travel conditions. Full charging of the bus takes 2-3 hours.
It is not clear whether the electric buses will run on a shuttle mode on the Nilakkal-Pamba route like the other diesel buses of KSRTC. Ticket rates haven’t been decided yet as well.