A bus service in Kolkata is gearing up for the distinction of being among the cheapest modes of transport in India. The newly-launched bus service has also been in the news, even before it began ferrying, for being the country’s first major biogas-based bus service.
Unlike conventional public buses, this mode of transport will run on biogas produced from cow dung.
Ultadanga is one of the first neighbourhoods in Kolkata to have the biogas bus. Source: Flickr
According to Hindustan Times, the first bus is scheduled to run between the areas of Ultadanga and Garia. The estimated bus fare for the 17.5 km is a mere ₹1, a sharp drop from average bus fare in the city which is between ₹6 and ₹12.
Phoenix India Research and Development Group, a local company, has launched the service and developed the biogas from cow dung. The 54-seater bus has been manufactured in association with Ashok Leyland. Over this year, 15 more buses based on a similar fare structure are expected to be launched in the city.
Jyoti Prakash Das, MD Phoenix India Research and Development Group, has mentioned that the biogas is being produced at a plant in Birbhum, and transported to Kolkata in tankers. The entrepreneur has been working on biogas for close to a decade and is planning to enhance the efficiency of the buses with technology sourced from Germany.
“The biogas we produce costs Rs 20 a kg. The bus can run 5 km on one kg now,” he told the Hindustan Times. “[The German technology] will enable the vehicle to run 20 km on the same amount of fuel. The tank can hold 80 kg gas, and therefore, the vehicle can run 1,600 km on a full tank. That’s why the fare is so cheap.”
Along with the plant in Birbhum’s Dubrajpur district, the firm has received permission to set up 100 fuel pumps, the first of which will be set up at Ultadanga.