Eco-friendly Bus Fleet takes off in Delhi

Delhi’s public-transit system got a shot in the arm today with the launch of a new fleet of low-floor buses that run on compressed natural gas (CNG).

The Delhi government intends to add 525 new CNG buses to the government-run bus service, as well as double the number of CNG buses in Delhi within two years, increasing the number of such buses from 3,000 to 6,000. Another panacea for the Indian capital’s lagging air quality: Legislation is being drafted to convert 40,000 diesel commercial vehicles to CNG mode.

The ‘pista green’ coloured non air-conditioned low-floor buses have features like hydraulic doors and in-built speed governors. These buses using polyurethance paint, is disabled-friendly with features including, 230 horse power engine, roof mounted CNG cylinders, gas leakage detection, alarm system, full air suspension, automatic transmission, anti-skid and anti-lock breaking system, preinstalled speed governors, steel radial tubeless tyres, pneumatically-controlled doors, rear engine and alfa-numeric dual display for destination boards.

“An efficient, reliable and comfortable bus system in Delhi will encourage citizens to opt for public transport in place of private cars and scooters,” said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. “[A] shift of commuters to public transport is essential for not only reducing the environmental and air pollution but also for easing traffic congestion and reducing accident rates.”

No time like the present: A recent study found that Delhi’s air quality has deteriorated dramatically in the past two years, even with the CNG bus program, because of rising diesel-car ownership.