WRI India supported India’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in developing the PM e-Bus Sewa Scheme, which will bring 10,000 electric buses to underserved cities around the country.

The Challenge

Many Indians lack access to affordable, safe and reliable public transport — a huge barrier to reaching jobs, healthcare, education and other opportunities. Where public buses are available, they’re typically fueled by diesel, which produces noxious chemicals and spurs climate change.

The transport sector is the third-highest CO2-emitting sector in India, with road transport accounting for more than 90% of these emissions. Moving citizens away from car travel while expanding access to low-carbon public transit is essential for meeting the country’s commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2070.

WRI’s Role

Experts from WRI India were embedded within India's Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) for two-and-a-half years. There, they employed research, engagement and technical assistance to help the government develop and implement a national plan for electric buses (e-buses).

WRI experts used research to make the case for clean, electric buses in underserved cities and determined the quantity of buses needed to support deployment in 169 cities. They then provided technical assistance to procure e-buses and locked in financial support for cities to develop or update their infrastructure.

WRI staff also worked with ministry officials to create a National Intelligent Transport Management System (ITMS) Platform. This technology will allow for the uniform management of e-buses across dozens of cities.

The Outcome

In August 2023, India’s national government announced the PM eBus Sewa Scheme, providing $2.4 billion to deploy and operate 10,000 e-buses across up to 169 eligible cities. Buses will begin hitting the roads in 2024, with deployments completed by 2026.

More than 170 million residents are expected to benefit. In addition to reducing emissions and improving air quality, the e-bus initiative will also dramatically expand access to clean, reliable public transport. Of the cities eligible to receive e-buses, half currently lack any organized bus transport. Almost half of projected riders will be women, who historically have struggled to access jobs, education and other opportunities due to limited vehicle ownership. And at least 25% of the e-buses delivered will be accessible to passengers with disabilities.