The first pair of private buses which converted to CNG as fuel through retrofitment in Kerala, were flagged off at Vyttila Mobility Hub
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and hydrogen will follow CNG as cost effective and environment-friendly fuels for buses, Transport Secretary K.R. Jyotilal said.
“Efforts are on to ensure availability of CNG in all refuelling stations. LNG will follow suit, while hydrogen will be a long-term fuel option. A paradigm shift to green mobility is a must to do justice to future generations,” he said online, at the flagging off of the first pair of private buses which converted to CNG as fuel through retrofitment in Kerala, at Vyttila Mobility Hub here on Friday.
The buses operated by Josco Motors, which began operating in the Vyttila-Ernakulam-Vyttila and Aluva-Tripunithura routes, were flagged off by Jafar Malik, CEO of both Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority (KMTA) and Cochin Smart Mission Limited (CSML). “Long-term benefits outweight the initial investment (of around ₹4 lakh to retrofit a CNG kit in each bus). I hope more bus operators follow suit. Firms having expertise in conversion to LNG and hydrogen as fuel sources are the need of the hour, considering their cost-effectiveness and lowering of pollution levels,” Mr. Malik said.
Participants at the recent Urban Mobility India (UMI) conference were appreciative of Kochi constituting the first full-fledged MTA in India and hence decided to hold the 2021 event in Kochi, Mr. Malik added.
Diesel cost ₹75 a litre, while a kilogram of CNG is priced at ₹56, said Geo John Palatty, MD of Metro Fuels, Edapally, which retrofitted CNG kits in the buses. “A bus that travels 250 km per day can save approximately ₹1,250 per day. The fuel efficiency too improves marginally. The retrofitment cost can thus be recovered in just over a year. The cost of maintenance falls, while quantum of carbon monoxide emission too decreases considerably. The kits have a two-year warranty,” he added.
Enforcement RTO of Ernakulam Shaji Madhavan lauded George Joseph, owner of Josco Motors for opting to retrofit CNG kit in two of his buses. More bus operators must emulate him, he said.
The two buses are also among the 200-odd ones in Kochi which have installed CCTV cameras – one facing the road and another the bus interiors. The other equipments on board such smart buses are LED passenger information screen, modernised GPS to keep track of their location and panic button, among others. The tehnical help for this was given by city-based Technovia Infosolutions. Its CEO Nishant Ravindran spoke of how the GPS enabled buses can be tracked by bus operators using a mobile app named ‘Onedi’ (short for ‘one digital’).
“They thus get to know real time aspects like ticketing position, up to date collection figures, driving pattern (where rash driving if any can be detected), fuel efficiency etc.,. Such buses also accept Kochi-1 pre-paid cards, enabling cashless transit,” he said.
Another app is on the anvil to help passengers track the location of buses, which would help plan their trip better and prevent wastage of time. This would be launched by Jan 2021, Mr. Ravindran said.
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