The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking has not taken the mandatory approval from the transport authority for the colour of its news double-decker and premium buses.
"This is a violation of the rules and regulations governing the introduction of new public transport buses" alleged a transport expert.
When contacted spokesperson of BEST said, "At present, all electric double-decker buses and premium buses which are running on the road are 'wet lease' buses and are registered with the RTO office. RTO registration of buses is the responsibility of the bus owner. However, the type approval certificate, a certificate required for RTO passing issued by the testing agency doesn’t mention the colour of the bus."
The approval of the State Transport Authority (STA), a body headed by the transport secretary of the Maharashtra government, is mandatory whenever a new type of public transport bus is introduced.
A transport department officer said that though the new double-decker e-buses were introduced last February and the premium buses have been ferrying passengers since even before that, BEST has not applied to the STA for approval for their colour schemes.
BEST spokesperson shifts the blame to private bus operators
According to transport department officials, the STA needs to approve the colour scheme of public transport buses because these buses need to be easily identifiable from a distance. But a BEST spokesperson said it is the responsibility of private bus operators from whom these buses have been hired on wet lease.
However, a senior transport department official said getting STA approval for the colour scheme of new buses is the responsibility of the BEST as the stage carriage permit is issued to the public transport undertaking and not the contractor.
According to sources the state transport department is going to seek a report from RTOs which registered double-decker e-buses as "signal red" though their actual colour is different.
With a fleet of more than 3,000 buses, the BEST Undertaking of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ferries more than 30 lakh commuters in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, Navi Mumbai and Mira-Bhayander every day.