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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

BEST to redesign services to start Metro, monorail routes

Kailash Korde, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 06, 2013
First Published: 09:52 IST(6/8/2013) | Last Updated: 09:55 IST(6/8/2013)

Like routes to railway stations, BEST plans to start services to Metro, monorail stations

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Even as new-age mass transport systems such as the Metro and monorail are set to start in Mumbai later this year, the city’s age-old transport system BEST has begun the groundwork to redesign its routes and start feeder routes to the new services.

So far, the undertaking was only providing feeder service to suburban railway stations.

This step is being taken to face competition posed by the new transit system on certain routes and also to make BEST services sustainable in the long run.

Along with the introduction of fast-corridor routes for better north-south and east-west connectivity, BEST has plans to start direct services between newly-developed business hubs and residential hubs in the city.

It is even considering developing Deonar as a bus hub, where long-route passengers can interchange buses. BEST also plans to introduce more bus routes via the eastern freeway.

“Today we are providing feeder service to suburban railway stations. Similarly, we will soon provide such services to the Metro and monorail corridors. Depending on Metro and monorail services, we will finalise a plan,” said OP Gupta, general manager of BEST undertaking.

With a fleet of 4,200- odd buses, the debt-ridden BEST undertaking is going through a severe economic crisis.

The BEST has fleet of around 180 air-conditioned buses, which are proving to be the undertaking’s white elephant because of poor patronage from passengers.

The BEST is now planning to use these for feeder services on the Metro and monorail corridors.

“We are going to use our AC buses for feeder services. The idea is to make the entire journey air-conditioned for passengers from their point of boarding to the metro/monorail station,” said Gupta. He said that the undertaking was planning a service for the monorail corridor between Chembur and Wadala, and after that, they would consider a similar service on the Metro route.

However, he did not disclose whether there would be any fare restrictions for AC buses on these routes.

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