Mumbai: A Commuter body has urged the chief minister and BEST administration to preserve at least two of the iconic non AC double-decker buses at its Anik depot-based museum
“Aapli BEST Aaplyasathi” a group of commuters has written to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, BMC chief Iqbal Singh Chahal and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar and the BEST’s general manager urging them to stop these buses from meeting the same fate as trams, which were the first mode of public transport in the city.
“We have requested them to preserve the last two red double-decker buses and put them on display at the BEST’s museum for tourists and future generations,” said a member of Aapli BEST Aaplyasathi”.
According to one of its members, in 1964, trams disappeared from the city roads forever. The city had both single and double-decker trams, but not one of them was saved. Later, a tram was brought here from Kolkata for display purposes, but it corroded. Finally, it was repaired a few years ago and displayed at Boribandar.”
"Legacy of these buses must be preserved"
"Mumbai is the only city in the county with so many double-decker buses in public service. Hence, these legacy buses must be preserved, he said.
According to Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking, iconic red double-decker non AC buses will go off the streets this week. As these buses are going off the roads forever, commuter groups and bus enthusiasts have urged BEST to preserve at least two of these iconic vehicles at its Anik depot-based museum and have written to the Maharashtra chief minister, tourism minister and the BEST administration.
Red double-decker buses were introduced in the city’s public transport system in 1937, and they have since become symbolic of the city itself and interestingly, have also featured in songs of Bollywood movies set in Mumbai.
Double-decker buses' services to be stopped from Sept 15
Currently, few double-decker buses, including three open-deck buses are left in the BEST’s fleet. As these vehicles are completing 15 years of their codal life, the last double-decker buses will forever go off roads from September 15, while the last open-deck buses will be pulled out on October 5th.
In the beginning of the 1990s, the BEST had a fleet of around 900 double-decker buses, but the number gradually declined after the mid-90s.
The BEST since February this year started replacing these iconic buses with leased double-decker buses and ordered for the 900 double decker electric air conditioned buses already placed. So far, around two dozen electric double-decker air conditioned buses have been introduced. Apart from that procurement process of open deck double buses is also started.