KATHMANDU: While private sector is all prepared to operate electric buses in public transport, government agencies seem to be undecided over modality of building charging stations.
“We have been requesting the government to build charging stations that all kind of electric vehicles can use. But it seems that the Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation is for building charging stations in partnership with electric vehicle brands,” Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, chairperson of Sundar Yatayat, which is preparing to operate four electric buses in Kathmandu Valley from Monday, said.
A committee formed under Praveen Aryal, a joint secretary of the energy ministry, has prepared a work plan for drafting guidelines for charging stations. “We have sent the work plan to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA),” Aryal told Republica.
However, an official of NEA said that he has no knowledge of the work plan prepared by the ministry. “Maybe it’s on the way,” Prabal Adhikari, the spokesperson of NEA, told Republica.
Sundar Yatayat has finalized four routes for its electric buses – Ring Road, Gongabu to Suryabinayak, and Kalanki to Nepal Medical College, Attarkhel. “All four buses will ply the Ring Road route,” Thapa told Republica.
The company has procured 18 electric buses in the first phase. Remaining 14 buses will arrive in Kathmandu within a month. “Our plan is to bring around 50 electric buses within a year. Half of them will be operated in Kathmandu Valley, while remaining will be operated outside the valley,” added Thapa.
According to Thapa, fair of electric buses will be 20% less than the fare of buses running on fossil fuel. “We are also introducing pre-paid cards to pay bus fare. There will be separate cards for students and senior citizens. We will be giving some discounts to students and senior citizens,” he added.
The company has already inaugurated its charging stations at Sukedhara and Sitapaila. “We need more charging stations to promote clean transport,” Thapa added.
Sundar Yatayat paid Rs 10.62 million for each bus. The buses are equipped with CCTV camera and GPS system, among other features, according to Thapa.