In a major step towards minimising dependence on fossil fuels, Kerala on Monday rolled out its first ever public bus to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Transport Minister Antony Raju flagged off the green bus service Monday from Thiruvananthapuram’s central bus station. The bus would be operated on the Thiruvananthapuram-Ernakulam and Ernakulam-Kozhikode routes.
For the cash-strapped Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), the novel initiative serves two purposes — cutting back on mounting operational losses by switching to cheaper fuel and promoting an energy source considered to be far less damaging to the environment.
This is part of KSRTC’s ongoing plans of overhauling its entire fleet, currently running on diesel, and switching them to LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG). It has already announced plans to convert 400 of its older, diesel-powered buses to LNG.
The beleaguered bus company, which has been running on losses for decades, has leased two LNG-powered buses from Petronet LNG for three months for the purpose of conducting studies to examine the financial and technical viability of commercially running such buses on long, inter-city routes.
The transport minister said the new LNG bus service would be operated between major cities in the first phase and then taken to high-range areas like Munnar to gauge its operational efficiency.