Mumbaikars say 'BEST' as bus fares drop drastically

Mumbai: Passengers on Tuesday morning were taken by pleasant surprise as they were returned money by the conductors. The fare reduction was implemented from Tuesday morning as Mumbaikars travelled on the BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking buses. The state transport department also reduced the minimum fare on lines of BEST, a minimum of Rs 5 for five kilometres. Passengers who travel long distances will benefit more, as the fare in ordinary buses will now not cost more than Rs 20. Commuters said, they now do not have to struggle between trains and taxis and also feel the revised fare will allow them to save more money.

Navin Jaiswal, 31, a professor, travels daily between Oshiwara to Ekta Nagar, Kandivli. There is no direct train between the two locations and he had to either take a bus or autorickshaw. Now with the fare cut, the bus journey which cost him Rs 30 on a daily basis has been reduced by Rs 10. “We are middle class people and even a daily save of Rs 10 means a lot to us. I will be spending Rs 20 everyday and that will help me save money on a Rs 300 on a monthly basis,” said Navin. This is a best fare cut believe those especially travelling on long distance air condition buses regularly. Many passengers travel between Navi Mumbai, Bandra and Mumbai regularly, as the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport runs these buses.

“The price reduction in AC Buses is the best thing that BEST has done lately. Till now, I would spend Rs 25 from Dadar to Thane in a non-air conditioned bus. Now I will have need to pay only Rs 19 for the same distance for an air condition bus. This is profitable for me,” said Gopal Shinde, an entrepreneur. He also added, "Now more buses need to be rolled out as the footfall of the passengers is likely to increase or else things will become chaotic." Mahesh Soni, 29, a management professional, travels everyday between Vashi and Dombivli with the fare reduction, he will be saving Rs 36 everyday. "I will now pay Rs 15 per ride which earlier would cost me Rs 33. This will help me save Rs 936 every month from now on. That is not a small amount, as I can spend it on other utilities instead,” Soni said.

Passengers also showed concern about the poor conditions of the roads, with metro work, civic work and potholes that seem to restrict vehicular movement across the city. “People in Mumbai are stickler for timings and would opt for more time efficient modes of transport rather than save money. Sharing taxis is another easy available options. The poor condition of the roads actually derail our buses, as they can hardly move during floods or severe traffic jams,” said Aishwarya Pewal, a media professional. BEST has taken this decision to reduce fares is a proposal to encourage more commuters to opt for this mode of transport.

Cool fares come in small packages

Mumbai: The BEST's bus fare reduction is a dream come true for Mumbaikars. But there is yet another surprise in store for them — BEST plans to add 400 AC mini-buses to its fleet, to make this dream commute cooler. Currently, the BEST has 3,337-strong fleet, of which 2,900 buses are currently in operation. However, traffic constraints prevent buses from running on time, leaving commuters hot and bothered. Preferring not to wait for buses, commuters opt to for cabs or autorickshaws to reach their destination. After recording losses for years, owing to dwindling ridership, among other reasons, fare reduction was a strategy to woo back its lost commuters. To improve the frequency of service, the administration has decided to procure more buses, aiming for a fleet of 6,000. In August, 100 more buses will be added, while in October, 200 and another100 will join the fleet in November, at a cost of Rs 587.50 crore. Antony Garage and Shree Krupa Services have been awarded the contract to procure new buses.

Revised monthly pass cost for AC, non-AC buses

Mumbai: A one-day BEST pass which cost Rs 90 for a non-AC bus, will now be available for Rs 50, while for AC buses, it will now cost Rs 60, down from the earlier Rs 200.

Monthly non-AC passes

For up to 5km: Rs 250.

For up to 10 km: Rs 500

For 15km: Rs 750

For over 15km: Rs 1,000

Cost of monthly AC passes

for up to 5km: Rs 300.

For up to 10 km: Rs 650

For 15 km: Rs 950.

For over 15km: Rs 1,250

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