Mumbai: As the state-owned buses of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) prepare to ply on the roads of Mumbai for the first time, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will be training MSRTC drivers on the various routes of the city.
In order to augment its fleet to cater to the increase in demand of public transport service, the BEST has demanded 200 MSRTC buses on wet lease. The MSRTC will also provide drivers and conductors with its buses.
Officials from the BEST undertaking informed, the MSRTC buses will be deployed initially in feeder routes, which has lower ridership of passengers. Meanwhile the MSRTC drivers will be trained by the BEST till they become prone to the city roadmap and routes, following which these drivers will be assigned important routes.
“The road network of Mumbai is different from the satellite cities where MSRTC operates. Mumbai roads have a large number of choke points and are heavily congested, also BEST will need to make each of the drivers understand the route map as well,” said a senior BEST official.
The BEST has floated a requirement of 1,000 buses from the state run MSRTC, of which around 200 buses are expected to arrive this week in the first phase.
"Most of the MSRTC buses will be pressed on the suburban belt as the frequency of buses in the suburban pockets is lower. Areas like Deonar, Ghatkopar, Anik, Dindoshi, Malad and Andheri have a huge rush of passengers" the official added.
Each of the MSRTC buses will cover between 120 and 150 kilo metres regularly and in exchange of the buses BEST will be paying the state-run undertaking, Rs 75 (tentative amount) per kilometer for each of the buses, which would incur the cost of fuel, maintenance and manpower.
MSRTC is one of the largest transport undertakings in the country and has a fleet of 18,000 buses of which 5,500 buses are presently being run at Maharashtra. Meanwhile BEST has a fleet of 3,500 buses which is falling short for the 16-lakh daily ridership. The buses will be run at full seating capacity. However, the number of standees will be curtailed.