For the first time, over 42 per cent of buses in the fleet of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) are air-conditioned (AC). There are a total of 3,415 buses, out of which 1,435 are AC. In the next four months, BEST will add 200 new AC buses to its fleet. Earlier this month, the BEST started AC electric bus service from the Mumbai airport.
For all these years, the contribution of AC buses was dismal. Over the past few months, their number has gone up; until the middle of the year, it was just around 1,100.
“Our AC fleet has touched 1,435 buses, while there are 1,980 non-AC buses. This is probably the first time our AC bus fleet has gone beyond 40 per cent,” said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.
The 200 buses that BEST plans to add will be double-decker and tenders for the same have been floated. This is part of its overall plan of getting 2,100 AC e-buses.
The BEST also intends to add 1,400 single-deckers AC e-buses, 400 midi AC e-buses, and 100 mini AC e-buses to their fleet. Sources said that by 2023, the BEST is looking to run 80 per cent of its buses on electricity and by 2027 all buses will be electric.
Almost a decade ago, King Long buses were plying on the road. However, due to their poor maintenance and quality, there were a lot of complaints and gradually they were shunted out of the fleet.
Recently, two dedicated bus routes from the airport to south Mumbai and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) were introduced. The BEST is also targeting corporates to transport their employees to-and-fro. They are also in touch with companies for whom AC buses are being planned.
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