Mumbai: MMRDA to hand over 25 loss-making electric buses to BEST
(Photo by Bhushan Koyande)

The cash-strapped Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will get 25 used electric buses. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to hand over the loss-making buses it was operating to BEST, reported the Indian Express.

The leading daily's report further states that the buses, owned by the MMRDA and operated by the BEST, were running on Bandra-Kurla-Complex (BKC), Dahisar and on a few routes in Mulund. MMRDA officials told the Indian Express that they have decided to hand over the buses to BEST as the agency was expanding its operations and also looking at leasing buses from contractors.

The BEST from July 9 reduced its fares — minimum fare on a non-AC bus is Rs 5, while it is Rs 6 for an AC bus. After the implementation of its revised fare, the transport authority is said to be have witnessed a 31 percent increase in commuters. A senior officer from the BEST told the leading daily most of the increase was seen on shorter routes and in AC buses. “That is why we have planned to take MMRDA’s hybrid electric buses,” the officer told Indian Express.

As per the BEST's revised fare structure, there will be only four pricing slabs: 0-5 km, 5-10 km, 10-15 km, and over 15 km. The minimum non-AC bus fare has been brought down from Rs 8 to Rs 5 for the first five kilometres and the maximum fare for non-AC buses has been fixed at Rs 20. The minimum AC bus fare has been reduced to Rs 6 from Rs 20, while maximum fare has been capped at Rs 25. The fare slab for non-AC (regular) buses are Rs 5, 10, 15 and Rs 20, and Rs 6, 13, 19 and Rs 25 for air-conditioned buses.

BEST has a fleet of 3,337 buses, which ply on 483 routes in Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai. By the end of the year, BEST is planning to have 1,950 more buses. In the next six months, 480 buses, including 80 electric buses, will be added to BEST’s fleet.

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