Thiruvananthapuram: The experiment with replacing diesel engines with compressed natural gas-powered ones in the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation has turned out to be a success, observed management. It is now planning to expand the project and convert more buses to CNG.
Converting one bus to CNG fuel will cost Rs 5 lakh to the corporation. The initial experiment was conducted on five buses. The distributors have agreed to provide fuel at Rs 70 per kg while the retail market rate is Rs 91 per kg. Management has now decided to convert 1,000 buses in multiple phases to CNG fuel.
High running costs due to the increasing price of diesel and huge one-time expenditure for buying new buses forced the management to experiment with changing the engine of the existing buses. The decision to buy 400 brand-new CNG buses using the KIIFB fund was dropped.
However, the buses are not suitable for high-range routes. They will be deployed only on the plains.
Meanwhile, the decision on receiving 1,000 electric buses under a union government scheme has not been finalised yet. Of them, the state has to pay rent for 750 buses. The rate is Rs 43 per km. It includes the cost of the driver as well. Earlier, the experiment with renting e-buses turned out to be a costly affair for the state.