In order to cater to passengers’ demand, the BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has converted two north-south bound bus routes to double decker routes.
Routes 66 (Ballard Pier - Sion East) and 21 (Colaba - Trombay) recorded heavy footfall as presently buses are the only means of public transportation available for Mumbaikars.
Conventional BEST buses would run on these routes and long queues were seen at the bus stops during peak hours. Also, buses are operating at 50 per cent of their capacity and their frequency is not very high.
Shiv Sena Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Byculla Yamini Jadhav had addressed the issue to the BEST administration and appealed to them to convert the conventional bus routes into double decker routes for the time being. "Passengers wrote to me complaining about the low frequency of buses. I requested BEST administration to take cognizance of the issue and follow up on the matter. A double decker bus can ferry almost double the capacity of passengers. This has eased the burden of commuting for the passengers," Jadhav told the Free Press Journal.
The Byculla MLA has also written to the BEST general manager, requesting the resumption of double decker services of BEST route 1 (Colaba-Mahim) that have been discontinued by the undertaking. "I have requested the BEST administration to resume the double decker services between Mahim and Colaba. Now that local trains are not operating, there is tremendous pressure on bus services," stated Jadhav.
Alongside this, the BEST has extended stoppages for few of its routes as well. Buses on route number 506 earlier ran between Byculla and Nerul (east). Now, the buses run till Deonar depot.
Also, on route 43, 50 seater conventional buses were pressed instead of mini buses.
BEST had scrapped 12 of its double decker buses in the present financial year. To match up with the demand of passengers, the undertaking has leased 1,000 MSRTC buses from the state transport authority. "Ideas are coming in from public representatives and passengers about augmenting the fleets. We are monitoring the routes very well and adding more buses as per the requirement," said a BEST official.