‘Shivaee’, MSRTC’s first e-bus service launched on Pune-Ahmednagar route

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) first electric bus service was launched on the Pune-Ahmednagar route on Wednesday. The new electric bus, dubbed ‘Shivaee’, was inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at the premises of the company’s regional office in Pune.

A charging station was also inaugurated at MSRTC’s Shankarsheth Road headquarters.

At the event attended by Pune City MP Girish Bapat, MLC Nilam Gorhe, MPs Sunil Tingare and Siddharth Shirole and Labor Union leader Baba Adhav, Pawar said the government of Maha Vikas Aghadi will work to introduce a large number of electric buses to replace the current fleet.

“We discussed the possibility of replacing the current fleet of buses with a new fleet of electric buses. We will do it, no matter how much it will cost, we can raise funds,” he said. “Earlier in the state budget, we aimed to introduce 3,000 new e-buses, but we will go beyond that. I will be calling a finance department meeting for that soon,” Pawar added. He said that once the proposal is finalized, it will be submitted to the chief minister and the state cabinet.

“The ST bus is the vehicle of the poor and it should continue to serve and march towards its centenary with new vigor,” Pawar said.
The MSRTC plans to operate six daily services between Pune and Ahmednagar with ‘Shivaee’, a 12-meter long bus with a 43-seat capacity that can reach speeds of 80 km/h.

The MSRTC announced the service in 2019 and also conducted a trial between Pune and Mumbai in June 2019. It announced that the electric buses would run between destinations within 300 km. Implementation of the project, however, was delayed for more than two years – initially due to slow progress in setting up the infrastructure, then due to the pandemic and a workers’ strike.

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The MSRTC is one of the largest state-owned public transport companies in the country with a fleet of over 16,000 buses. The loss-making company carried more than 65 million passengers a day before the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Melvin Z. Madore