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Electric buses in Bangalore

In 2014, Bangalore became the first Indian city to announce electric buses. It was celebratory news for a city struggling with traffic and increasing levels of air pollution. However, six years on, not a single electric bus has been spotted on the streets. The chief agency involved, BMTC, and the Transport Ministry of Karnataka remain undecided on whether they want to lease these bus or buy them. Meanwhile, toxic fumes-spewing diesel buses continue to operate in the city. Multiple studies and news reports have established how harmful the pollutants from diesel emissions are — causing respiratory disorders like asthma, heart disease, and even cancer.

Here’s a timeline of BMTC’s electric bus promises..

Feburary 2014

India’s first electric bus pilot launched in Bangalore

March 2016

Indian Institute of Science submits recommendations on electric buses to BMTC. The study suggests that electric buses are both economically and environmentally better than diesel buses. 

October 2016

BMTC approves the proposal to buy 150 electric buses in Bangalore. 

December 2017

BMTC decides to lease electric buses instead of buying them citing high procurement costs.

January 2018

BMTC in a fix because the Centre has reportedly approved subsidy for only 40 buses.

July 2018

Karnataka Government announces a 100-crore subsidy to launch 80 electric buses.

October 2018

Transport Minister DC Thammanna and BMTC MD involved in a tussle over corruption charges levelled by the former on decision of buying v/s leasing buses.

December 2018

 BMTC MD V Ponnuraj  gets transferred after being shunted by DC Thammanna over the issue of buying v/s leasing electric buses.

January 2019

While the previous Siddaramaiah-led govt had cleared a proposal to lease 1,500 buses, officials have sought the government’s help in purchasing the 1,200 buses as per the directions of the Transport Minister, D C Thammanna.

February 2019

More than 3000 members urge the BMTC to induct electric buses in Bangalore and take a decision immediately on buying or leasing.

March 2019

BMTC lose 80-crore worth subsidies after they failed to induct electric buses under FAME- 1 scheme

BMTC’s chief mechanical engineer suspended after he allegedly refused to succumb to pressure from higher-ups in the matters of purchasing electric buses, instead of taking them on lease.

June 2019

BMTC issues Expression of Interest to buy electric buses

July 2019

D C Thammanna wants BMTC to buy buses instead of leasing them

August 2019

D C Thammanna reconsiders the decision of buying electric buses and suggests leasing.

October 2019

KSRTC floats tender for procurement of 400 electric buses on lease,Bengaluru to get 300

November 2019

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, announced that electric buses will be leased in a phased manner, BMTC says it cannot afford to procure the buses.

March 2020

BMTC announces 30-day pilot 

June 2020

In an RTI filed by, BMTC says they never conducted a pilot for electric buses.

October 2020

BMTC announces launch of second pilot for electric buses.

CITU opposes BMTC’s move to lease electric buses.

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