Mumbai: The BEST will shell out Rs 2 crore for services provided by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) during lockdown. The MSRTC had provided more than 1,000 buses throughout the lockdown. On June 25, the BEST committee took a decision to request the BMC to pay this amount. “We are going to request the BMC to pay Rs 2 crore to MSRTC,” said Ashish Chemburkar, BEST committee chairman.
For long, BEST has been in financial problems. Earlier this month, the BEST asked the MSRTC to withdraw the remaining 200 buses that were being operated for BEST on their schedule.
This decision was taken after BEST claimed that there are sufficient buses on wet lease that have joined the fleet. Currently, the BEST has 1,992 buses and an additional 1,224 are on wet-lease. Their own fleet has come down by more than 1,000 buses during the lockdown.
However, to support them, MSRTC provided 1,000 buses since April 2020. At the start of this year, the number of buses dropped to 600. Finally, by mid-June there were 200 MSRTC buses. After that they were withdrawn from service in Mumbai. FPJ had reported about this earlier this month.
Initially, between May and June last year, MSRTC had provided 100 to 150 buses. Gradually, they added 100 to 200 buses each month. By November, the total number of buses MSRTC had provided BEST were 1,000. Gradually, the buses were reduced as the first wave slowed down and local trains were made available to most people.
Meanwhile, BEST introduced 140 spacious 12-m long e-buses. At least 25 of these will be added to the fleet by the end of this month. All the 140 buses will be in the fleet by August end. These buses will have a capacity of 50 passengers. BEST plans to take its fleet to 4,000 buses, which will also include 700 air-conditioned mini and CNG buses.