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More private bus owners opt for green fuel

Earlier, bus owners in the city were struggling to shell out around Rs 5,000 - Rs 6,000 daily for each bus to meet its fuel expenses. 

Published: 02nd April 2021 05:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd April 2021 05:01 AM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Express News Service

KOCHI: Decision of bus owners operating in the city to convert their vehicles from diesel to CNG-fitted engines has turned out to be a huge success. Apart from reducing their expenses, it may also be a big step towards making Kochi a greener city.

Earlier, bus owners in the city were struggling to shell out around Rs 5,000 - Rs 6,000 daily for each bus to meet its fuel expenses. The introduction of CNG-fitted engines in these vehicles has now come as a huge boon for them. With the new engine, their daily expense has come down to Rs 3,000- Rs 4,000.George Joseph, secretary of a bus owners’ group and owner of the state’s first CNG-fitted private bus, saves nearly Rs 2,000 per day. 

His CNG buses that ply on Aluva-Tripunithura and Vyttila-Vyttila circular routes were converted at Metro Fuels (a company that handles retrofitting at Edappally). They began services in October.“The private bus sector in the state is on the verge of extinction due to several factors including the hike in fuel price. Earlier, we had to spend Rs 6,000 on diesel for each bus. But with the hike in fuel price, it touched Rs 7,000. This is when I decided to convert two of my buses to CNG. Even the maintenance cost has come down significantly. If the bus owners are ready to spend Rs 4 lakh for the new engine installation, they can recover the expense within a year,” said George.

With the two buses giving the desired result, George, who owns 11 buses, is planning to convert his entire fleet to CNG. “Right now, three buses are ready. But soon, I will convert all my buses,” added George.Raju V A, owner of two private buses plying on the Vaikom-Edakochi route felt the same. “I had to shell out Rs 6,250 daily for the bus plying between Vaikom and Edakkochi. Each day, the bus consumed nearly 75 litres of diesel. But after the vehicle was converted into CNG, we can run the bus on just 65 kg of gas, costing just Rs 3,600. 

Since several bus owners are facing financial issues due to Covid, the government should come forward to provide subsidies for those who are ready to convert their vehicles. The banks also should provide loans,” said Raju.

Geo John Palatty, MD, Metro Fuels, an Edappally based retrofitting company, said several private bus owners are now expressing their willingness to convert the buses into CNG engines. “We have completed conversion of 14 buses into CNG-fitted engines. We are getting a lot of enquiries and orders. Though the bus owners were apprehensive earlier, the success of the first CNG bus gave them the confidence to carry out retro-itment,” Geo added.



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