An electric bus launched in Kolkata.
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Kolkata: The streets of Kolkata on Wednesday (20 February) ushered in a new era in the city’s public transportation landscape with the introduction of electric buses and taxis driven by women.

Also, Asansol, an industrial town in the state, saw the introduction of buses run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), to be specific coal bed methane.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched the new transportation facilities from state secretariat Nabanna this afternoon.

As many 20 electric buses and 10 Pink Cabs (taxi owned and driven by a woman) have been pressed into service in the first phase today. The number of CNG buses is 20.

The electric buses will operate on different routes in Kolkata under West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC).

It has set up 17 charging stations in various depots and bus terminals in Kolkata for the buses.

The electric buses launched today come in two variants. The 12-metre long ones have cost Rs 88-lakh each and 9-metre long ones have been procured at Rs 74.9-lakh each, a transport department statement said.

Within May, Bengal government has plans to roll out another 60 electric buses in Kolkata, all manufactured by Tata Motors.

The Pink Cabs owned and driven by women will operate in the city. Although especially meant for women commuters, the cabs will ferry male passengers as well.

The Chief Minister announced that to encourage more women to drive cabs, the state will now on extend Rs 1.5-lakh as subsidy for each cab bought by women under Gatidhara scheme. In the case of men, the subsidy will continue to be Rs 1-lakh.

The 20 CNG buses launched for Asansol, those are manufactured by Ashok Leyland and the South Bengal State Transport Corporation has procured them at Rs 33.4-lakh each.