Mumbai: As Commuter Woes Grow, Demand For 1,000 More AC Buses

Mumbai: As Commuter Woes Grow, Demand For 1,000 More AC Buses

The group comprises renowned transport authorities including Ashok Datar, A V Shenoy, Hussain Indorwala, and Chetan Bordawekar, representing influential organisations such as the Mumbai Mobility Forum, Mumbai Vikas Samiti, and Amchi Mumbai, and Amchi BEST.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 11:31 PM IST
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Mumbai: A group of transport experts penned a letter to the BMC chief Bhushan Gagrani and BEST general manager Anil Diggikar, on Wednesday advocating for the procurement of 1,000 CNG AC buses within the upcoming quarter from April to June.

The group comprises renowned transport authorities including Ashok Datar, A V Shenoy, Hussain Indorwala, and Chetan Bordawekar, representing influential organisations such as the Mumbai Mobility Forum, Mumbai Vikas Samiti, and Amchi Mumbai, and Amchi BEST.

According to sources, the daily number of BEST buses has fallen below 3,000, while the average daily passenger count is nearly 35 lakh. Consequently, overcrowding levels on buses have escalated, leading to increased waiting times for passengers at various bus stops.

Highlighting the critical shortage in the city’s bus fleet in the letter, the experts emphasised the urgent requirement to bolster the BEST bus fleet, which currently faces a shortfall of over 1,500 buses. With only nearly 3,000 buses in operation and an ongoing phase-out of ageing vehicles, the situation demands immediate attention.

While acknowledging the existing orders for electric (E) buses, the experts also stated in the letter that the sluggish pace of deliveries, prompting the call for the acquisition of CNG buses to address the mounting demand. They underscored the availability of CNG buses with advanced features, including AC and Bharat 6 compliance, at a fraction of the cost of E buses.

The letter further elucidated the inability of BEST to deploy buses on crucial routes such as the coastal road and Atal Setu due to maintenance constraints. Moreover, the experts urged for a decisive response from the authorities, citing the imperative to provide affordable transportation alternatives to the city’s populace, particularly during the heightened demand witnessed during election periods.

Having previously raised the issue with predecessors without a satisfactory response, the experts implored for immediate action from the authorities concerned. The letter concluded with a plea for swift and resolute action, emphasising that the decision to procure CNG buses is self-evident and requires no further deliberation.

“The timely acquisition of 1000 CNG AC buses stands poised to offer a ray of hope amidst the challenges confronting public transport network,” said Ashok Datar, noted transport expert of the city.

“Recognising buses as the second lifeblood of Mumbai, the call aims to bolster the fleet and improve the overall efficiency and accessibility of public transportation,” said AV Shenoy, another transport expert of the city.

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