In what is likely to come as a big comfort-boost for the thousands of tourists and pilgrims who throng Vaishnodevi every day as well as others in the state, the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Department has inducted a fleet of electric buses.
The buses, which appear to be made by Tata Motors, are green in colour along the lines of suburban buses in many Indian cities, and seem to be equipped with a number of peripherals that will make driving on the winding ghats on the route to Vaishnodevi a safer experience and more comfortable experience. Visuals show a public announcement system and a tablet on the driver-side console.
The buses will ply between Jammu Railway station and Katra which is town where the Vaishnodevi shrine is located. The 45km journey generally takes about two hours including a stop at a check-point, and passes through moderate hills starting from the outskirts of Jammu city.
On reaching Katra, pilgrims can use a variety of means to make it to the shrine, with palkhis, horses and even helicopters available to make the about 14-km winding hike easier.
As per Amit Sharma, Special Secretary of the J&K Government's transport department, 20 buses have been launched for Jammu and Srinagar on an experimental basis.
Other pictures of the buses show the internal seating arrangement to follow a 2-2 format with arrangement for passengers to also stand while holding supports attached to the ceiling.
(With inputs from ANI)