Two electric bus service routes temporarily closed

SMTA insists only one route closed which will be back in operation in two weeks

Our Correspondent November 01, 2023
Women get off a Red Bus on a road in the port city. The public transport authority has yet to implement its ambitious plan of women bus drivers. Photo: jalal qureshi/ express


Two out of three electric bus routes in the metropolitan city have been temporarily closed due to charging problems. However, the Sindh Mass Transit Authority (SMTA) claims that only one route has been affected and that too would be back in operations within a fortnight.

Kamal Hakeem, Managing Director of SMTA, cited compatibility issues with charging electric vehicles as the main reason for the disruption of the service on route No 3, while insisting that buses are still running on routes No 1 & 2.

"The buses were not receiving the required amount of charge," he added. To address this problem, a charging station has been constructed at Mehran Depot, and a demand note has been submitted for a new connection and PMT (Power Management Technology). Hakeem claimed that the PMT installation is expected to be completed within two weeks with the help of K-Electric.

Once the buses are fully charged at Mehran Depot, the public can expect uninterrupted service on route No 3. Although there are backup chargers for the buses, the new electric buses are not compatible with the old charging infrastructure. Therefore, suitable chargers are being installed at the new electric connections.

The electric bus service was launched in January this year, operating on three routes named EV1, EV2, and EV3. EV1 starts at Tank Road, Jinnah Avenue, and passes through Sharea Faisal, FTC, Korangi, Khayaban-e-Ittihad, and ends at Clock Tower, Seaview. EV2 starts from Bahria Town and ends at Model Colony, with stops at Malir Halt, M Nine Toll Plaza, Baqai Medical University, Jinnah Avenue, Malir Cantt. EV 3 starts from Malir Cantt and ends at MA Jinnah Road, passing through Mausamiyat, Kamran Chowrangi, Perfume Chowk, Millennium Mall, Dalmia, and Aga Khan Hospital.

A total of 40 buses were operating on these three routes, equipped with two charging stations. While the charging station in Bahria Town is functioning as intended, the one in Malir Cantt faced issues from the beginning, including voltage fluctuations and inadequate voltage supply, resulting in problems charging the buses.

In an effort to resolve the charging station issues at Malir Cantt, a Chinese supplier was contacted. After a brief suspension of service in April due to charging problems, it was restored in July following the installation of new chargers from China. However, the service has now been suspended again since several weeks.


Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2023.


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