The buses operated by the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) are slowly and steadily undergoing a makeover. The city roads are seeing an influx of air-conditioned electric buses that are noiseless and pollution-free.
Behind the scenes, the BEST is also working on another vital upgrade, which is their own mobile app for passengers. This app will not only provide information about the location of the bus, expected time of arrival (ETA) to the nearest bus stop, but also give an indication if the bus is crowded or not. Card readers will also be installed in BEST buses.
Mumbaikars can hopefully get this BEST app live this year itself. According to sources in BEST, the app is being tagged with the GPS fitted inside the buses to merge the two. This would help them relay to a passenger if the bus route, which the passenger is looking for, is crowded or not.
For instance, if a 21-seater AC bus is nearing the bus stop which a passenger is interested to board, one can check if its seating is available. Sources said if the seats are available then it will indicate ‘green’ and if all seats are occupied then it will show ‘red’. This, however, doesn’t consider those passengers who will alight at the bus stop for which the passenger is checking the status.
BEST Undertaking general manager Lokesh Chandra said, “We are aiming to make this app live by mid-December. We are adding a few features as well for the comfort of passengers.” The BEST App will allow people to book digital journey tickets for a particular route, show ETAs of buses at a particular bus stop, allow buying daily and season tickets and gauge the probable time taken to reach the destination.
Earlier this September, the BEST committee gave a go-ahead to the app that is being developed along with the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC). The contract for developing and maintaining the app has been given for a cost of Rs 85 crore for six years. The NCMC card can be used for travelling in all modes of transport. It needs to be tapped on the card reader fitted in buses while boarding and alighting. The conductors will also be given handheld devices for tapping these cards.
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