Right after monsoon, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will introduce 100 high-segment buses with no standees. The brands for these luxury air-conditioned vehicles will include Mercedes Benz, Volvo and Scania (each costing between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore), which will also have an exclusive mobile application for travel. The seats in these buses will have to be pre-booked by passengers through the app before starting the journey.
As per BEST Undertaking general manager Lokesh Chandra, nearly 30 buses in the first lot will arrive within four months from now.
These buses are likely to operate on fixed routes with limited halts starting from western and eastern suburbs of Borivali and Thane, respectively, towards south Mumbai. The halts will depend on the route, number of passengers, and common office place of these passengers like Bandra Kurla Complex, Worli, Nariman Point, Lower Parel and Prabhadevi. The fare chart will accordingly be higher than regular buses.
The exclusive mobile app is a key feature of these luxe buses. Moreover, it will also have a ‘home safe’ button for passenger safety. As per sources, this feature will enable passengers to share their live location with family members, with the BEST control room also keeping a tab on it. The app will also beam information on the expected time of arrival at the stop where the passenger will alight, along with mode of transport use for the last mile; all tracked by the control room.
Depending on the expected time of arrival, the control room staff will send an SMS to the passenger asking if she/he has reached home, which would need a response in ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If there is no response from the passenger, a call will be made to reconfirm the location. As a back-up, family members whose numbers are shared on the App will be called. The call centre will most likely work from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm.
As for the interiors, the buses will have recliner cushioned seats with headrests. There will also be mobile and laptop charging points on each seat, and bottled water, among other facilities.