The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will unveil two versions of the state-of-the-art air-conditioned buses today. To be introduced in the presence of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, his deputy Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, the new fleet includes the city's first AC double-decker bus as well as a single-decker premium bus.
The double-decker version will likely be made operational by the second week of September after the completion of certain testing and trials. Around 250 AC double-decker, e-buses are likely to hit the city roads by the end of this year. Currently, the BEST has around 3580 buses, including 45 non-AC double-deckers. The first premium bus service will likely be introduced between south Mumbai and Navi Mumbai by mid of September.
“We are expecting 10 more AC premium buses by September, which will be introduced on different routes of the city,” said BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra.
By the end of 2023, around 3,000 more buses will be added to the existing fleet. A contract for 900 AC double-decker e-buses has already been approved. Of these, around 250 twin-deck buses are expected in the current year, said the BEST official, adding that apart from this 2,100 single-decker AC buses are also on the card. Of these around 25 per cent buses are also expected in the current year, rest will come in next year. In addition, BEST also decided to introduce around 200 single-decker premium buses in the city by December 2023. Of these, 10 will reach Mumbai next month.
“Last year, the BEST scrapped over 1,200 buses. More than 200 buses will be scrapped this year. Hence, the introduction of more buses in the BEST fleet is essential for Mumbaikars,” the official mentioned.
According to the BEST, after the induction of these buses not only will the frequency of services increase, but the comfort level of passengers will also improve. Also, several new routes will be initiated in the city as per the demand and traffic load of passengers. The BEST is also working on the gradual phasing out of all non-AC buses, aiming to have a fleet of around 10,000 buses by 2026.