The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will not ply buses on the Bandra-Worli Sealink as the state government has refused to give it toll concessions.
The government approved Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC’s) proposal to charge car drivers a toll of Rs 50 for a one-way trip, Rs 75 for mini-buses and Rs 100 for heavy vehicles like buses and trucks. Vimal Mundada, Public Works Department minister for MSRDC, confirmed that no concessions were being given to the BEST.
“The state proposed to charge Rs 5,000 per bus per month for using the sealink, but BEST asked it to be reduced by half,” said BEST Committee Chairman Dilip Patel. “If all government and police vehicles can get a toll exemption, then how can the government refuse us? BEST is not a profit-making body, and it will help decongest roads.”
He pointed out that if the BEST pays a toll, it would have to hike fares
The BEST planned to run five open-deck buses for a joy ride on the sealink. “We felt that those who don’t own cars should not be deprived of this ride. Car owners will pay Rs 50 as toll, while you will pay only Rs 20 if you travel by a BEST bus if the government grants toll exemption,” said Patel.
As per the proposal, the buses would start from Bandra-Kurla Complex. However, the proposal is likely to be cancelled now. The BEST also planned to divert some routes through the sealink; that too is unlikely now.