Kerala’s first compressed natural gas (CNG) fitted private bus will begin operation by end-October 2020. The service will begin in Ernakulam where two private buses plying on the Aluva-Tripunithura route and the Vyttila-Vyttila circular route will be converted to CNG buses. While the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation introduced CNG buses two years back, the private bus operators remained reluctant to switch from diesel to CNG.
According to Metro Fuels, a company which handles retrofitting at Edappally, private buses run an average of 250 km per day. They have the potential to save around Rs 40,000 per month by switching to CNG. Further, every private bus in Kochi spends almost Rs 5,000 on fuel daily. The switch to CNG will result in a saving of Around Rs 1,250 on fuel cost. Meanwhile, the bus owners will be able to recover the retrofitting charges of Rs 400,000 in a span of one year only.
However, the biggest challenge is the lack of CNG refilling stations. Presently, CNG stations are only in Kochi. While Indian Oil-Adani Gas Private Limited and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited have plans of opening CNG stations, nothing has been materialised yet.