On Tuesday morning, Mumbaikars were provided a measure of comfort and luxury: an air conditioned electric double decker bus, the country’s first, which completed its first passenger run, from CSMT to NCPA in morning.
Mumbaikars welcomed the state of art double decker bus in a style. On the first day of its operation, this bus completed a dozen of trips and nearly 1000 people enjoyed the ride of this newly introduced double decker, bus which will replace the currently running all iconic double decker buses in future.
Inside the bus during the first trip , there were loud cheers as commuters began a round of selfies and videos that continued throughout the trip. Especially wider windows, separate entry and exit doors with attached staircases prompted several passengers to click selfies to preserve the memory of their first ride.
While most travellers praised the first AC electric double decker bus introduced by BEST, they also shared their concerns about the chaotic nature of BEST buses. “Everything seems great, but I am worried how this bus will be after a month or two. People don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to rules and protocols,” said a woman aboard the first service from CSMT.
Actor Mukesh Kapani, who was also traveling in the newly introduced bus Tuesday from CSMT to NCPA, said, “Its a great experience. I am sure it will add a new chapter in the history of BEST."
“This is a cool ride,” said Dadar resident Ketan Gala on the quality of the AC double decker bus. “Frankly, I am a little surprised. Good job, BEST!” Businessman Gala said, who, along with his wife and daughter came all the way from Dadar to board the first AC ride. “It’s quite comfortable, some may even say luxurious. I hope commuters treat it well,” he added.
"I have never had the pleasure of travelling in a public transport bus like this," said Sudhakar Murti (58), resident of Colaba , who boarded the bus from CSMT on Tuesday evening and also travelled back from NCPA to CSMT again for doubling the joy of his maiden ride with country's first AC double decker bus.
Valmiki Pathade (65) resident of Nasik,
who came to Mumbai for some work, also enjoyed the joyride on Tuesday evening. "I was passing from CSMT, just saw the bus and decided to enjoy the ride," he said, adding that it was a memorable moment for him.
Despite BEST's best efforts, there are some areas of concerns related to the quality of seats and cooling.
The commuters, excited at the launch of the AC double decker bus which is expected to bring them respite during the scorching summer, captured the historic moments by clicking selfies as the bus reached NCPA.
"It's quite unbelievable. I can't express my feelings. I pray to the almighty that every Bus is made like this," Suhani Kamble, a resident of Ghatkopar who boarded the first trip from CSMT on Tuesday, said.
"The commissioning of this bus is a testimony that the BEST is trying hard to meet the demands of the passengers. I hope that maintenance and punctuality of the trains will be monitored on priority," she added.
Another passenger Wasim Akhtar Siddiqui , who recently came to Mumbai to search for a job, also enjoyed the ride. "All seems good. I am sure it will be a big relief for daily commuters, but the BEST need to improve the cooling system of bus especially during summer."
BEST general manager, Lokesh Chandra, said BEST has placed an order for nine hundred such types of buses, of these four will be likely to join the fleet by end of this month and put in services in the first week of March after completion of registration process. Rest of the buses will also join the fleet by end of this year.
"We want to give Mumbaikars the best global experience and want public transport to be a part of life of every Mumbaikar. We are sure the quality and reliability will henceforth improve and public transport will become more sustainable environmentally and financially," said Chandra.
For now, BEST will run this bus between CSMT and NCPA during weekdays and on the heritage route of south Mumbai on Saturday and Sunday. The fare of this bus will be Rs 6 for CSMT to NCPA and Rs 150 for heritage tour.
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