In order to overcome issues of traffic congestion and to reduce the number of cars on city roads, the transport department has suggested that BEST introduce a point-to-point service for central business districts, with air-conditioned buses and facilities like wi-fi and mobile charging points on board.
In an official letter to BEST, Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) and Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) last month, transport commissioner VN More also suggested they introduce spacious buses with better ambience and seats to attract people who use cars to commute to offices every day.
More said that according to a Mumbai Transport Support Union survey about the AC-bus service, car owners were willing to use public transport if provided with quality buses with better facilities. “Travelling cost of AC-buses is 70-80 per cent less when compared with cars. Moreover, people will also get to utilise the time spent on the bus,” said a transport official.
Another official from Mantralaya said that even the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation has shown interest in this initiative
The chief minister’s office is keen on this project, and has held several meetings in this regard over the last two years Apart from capital investment for buying new buses with modern facilities, other issues such as last-mile connectivity, service timings, frequency and feeder service, needed to be tackled before implementation.
However, BEST undertaking is not too keen to start such a service without assured passengers. “We can operate buses on certain trips on reservation basis, but we can’t start it as a route service on a specific frequency until we get an assured number of passengers,” said RR Deshpande, deputy genera manager (Traffic), BEST.