Electrifying Kolkata’s buses and ferries

Location: Kolkata, India

Population: 14,112,536 (metropolitan area)

Climate: Tropical

Duration: 2019 – 2030

Sector: Transport

Funding sources: Public

City networks: C40

Savings: The introduction of 5,000 electric buses by 2030 will reduce CO₂ emissions by 782,560 tonnes every year.

Solutions: Introduction of e-buses and charging infrastructure.

Multiple benefits: Economical and energy savings.

The West Bengal State Government’s intention to convert the city’s entire bus and ferry fleets to electric versions over the next 11 years was motivated in part by the city’s high levels of air pollution.

Objective –Invest and improve the city’s public transport options.

Solutions – With the ambitious aim of retaining its public transport’s impressive 88% modal share, Kolkata has decided to invest and improve the city’s public transport options. By 2030, the city plans to have inducted 5,000 electric buses and fully electrified the ferries across the Ganges River. As of 2019, 80 electric buses have been introduced to the city, with another 100 planned for 2020 and the needed charging infrastructure.

Furthermore, keeping citizens in mind, a standard mobility card was launched in 2017 to enable transfers between various modes of transportation. In addition to lowering customer costs and travel times, the West Bengal Transport Corporation, the city’s state-owned public transportation service, values delivering a more smooth commuting experience.

The West Bengal Transport Corporation – the state-owned enterprise that runs Kolkata’s public transport system – is handling this city-wide project.

Funding – The government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles (FAME) policy program supplied 60 % of the funding for the first 80 electric buses and partially subsidised the charging infrastructure construction. The remaining funds for the buses, charging stations, and infrastructure costs were provided by the West Bengal State Government.

Innovation – N/A

Success factors: 1) Effective and coordinated public policy. On top of its narrow street layout, only 7% of Kolkata’s land area is dedicated to roads, meaning that effective and coordinated public policy is crucial to minimise and help solve urban congestion issues as this city continues to grow; 2) Adopt helpful national policies: This ambitious project was made possible by the government’s FAME strategy and the state’s willingness to relate technology to mobility. 3) Effective public-private partnerships (PPP) enable rapid transitions: Kolkata became the first Indian megacity to convert its entire bus and ferry fleets to electric models thanks to a long-term vision at the national and state levels.

Significant outcomes:

  • Economical: By electrifying 5,000 buses, the city will save 11 million litres of diesel fuel each year, resulting in a net savings of $98 million per year by 2030.
  • Environmental: Electric buses will cut CO2 emissions by 782,560 tonnes each year by 2030.

Synergies with local policies: N/A

Political alignment:

In May 2014, the Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025 was published to replace the 2003 document with stricter fuel and emissions standards (source);

The document promotes public transportation, cycling, walking, energy efficiency, and clean fuels (source).

Marketability: Yes, through efficient coordination and adoption of public policies and the implementation of PPPs.

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Sector: Transport

Country / Region: India

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Realdania