People standing in a long serpentine queue for bus at Borivali station.
People standing in a long serpentine queue for bus at Borivali station.

Mumbai: In order to cater to the daily rush of Mumbaikars, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will be leasing nearly 200 buses from the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) for plying on the roads of Mumbai.

A senior BEST official confirmed on Monday that preparation to run buses with full seat occupancy on Mumbai is underway and along with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), BEST has jointly appealed to the MSRTC for their buses, which will be run in order to cope up with the high demand of passengers.

The official also mentioned that along with the buses, BEST will also be getting drivers and conductors from the MSRTC for the leased buses as well.

"BEST has taken this call keeping in mind both the safety and mobility issues of Mumbaikars. With the new buses we will be able to expand our fleet and will help easing the queues while at the same time distancing policies will also be maintained," the official stated.

BEST is running 3,500 buses from its fleet daily, which is falling short for the 16 lakh commuters it is ferrying regularly. With suburban railways being discontinued, BEST is the only available public transport service for Mumbaikars. Hence to ease the load of commuters the undertaking has now planned to augment its fleet.

A BEST conventional bus has a seating capacity of 50 passengers, while the MSRTC buses have a capacity to carry 44 passengers in seating. The buses will ferry passengers as per full seating capacity. However, the number of standees will be curtailed.

When contacted, an MSRTC official stated they have submitted a proposal over the weekend highlighting the cost of vehicle maintenance and fuel.

Sources in BEST also confirmed that an internal decision has been taken to run buses as per 100 per cent seat occupancy, however a nod from the government is pending. "We are awaiting nod from the state government, hopefully if things fall in place, we will start buses with expanded fleet and seating capacity by middle of this week" the official stated.

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Free Press Journal