Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking began two new AC mini-bus services from Bandra station to the adjoining areas of Mount Mary’s Basilica and Chuim Village respectively from Thursday.
Route no. A-214 runs between Bandra station and Mount Mary, while route no. A-211 goes to Chuim village and back.
The first service on both routes begins at 6am and ends at 10pm, at 10-minute intervals.
“We had received several requests from Mumbaikars for these services in Bandra, the highest number of these coming from office-goers,” said Manoj Varade, spokesperson and public relations officer, BEST.
“BEST is pressing new buses into service after a ground-level survey to assess demand,” he said.
The menace of autorickshaw drivers in Bandra is common knowledge. Share autos normally charge Rs 20 per seat to ferry commuters to Mount Mary, but during rush hour, ‘surge’ pricing comes into effect, with rates going up to Rs 50 per seat.
The introduction of the new bus routes resulted in the autorickshaw business taking a hit on the first day.
“The share auto and taxi stands are approved by both, the RTO and traffic division of Mumbai Police. BEST is running services just beside our stands and this is causing us losses,” said Popatrao Jhankar, transport activist and member of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) auto and taxi union.
The union has said it will move the court against the BEST and the RTO.
“The RTO cannot stop or force anyone to provide service. It is up to the people to choose their mode of conveyance and public is voluntarily opting for BEST,” said Abhay Deshpande, RTO chief, suburban Mumbai.