If the BEST has its way, the commuters in eastern suburbs will have an option to travel upto Dadar in the comfort of airconditioned buses plying on dedicated bus lanes from January.
The BEST has begun the process to acquire luxury buses to be run on dedicated high capacity corridors between Thane and Mumbai. In the first phase, 20 such buses will ply between Thane and Dadar from January.
The motive of the undertaking is to reduce the number of cars on the roads. The buses will travel along the eastern express highway between the two points.
|The Thane-Dadar route|
|By road: 30 km|
|By rail: 25 km|
|By road: 55 minutes|
|By rail: 40 minutes|
|By bus corridor: 40 minutes|
"It will be a new year's gift to the residents of Thane and Mumbai from the BEST and they can keep their cars in Thane and need not bring them all the way to Mumbai. We assure that our buses will offer all the required comfort of a car and that one can forget the hassles of driving in traffic and come down to the city and go back in comfort," BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade told HT.
"The government has given us an in-principle nod to run buses on dedicated lanes between Thane and Mumbai and hence we have begun the process for scanning bus manufacturers who will fulfill our demands. Since Volvos are very expensive, we may prefer Kinglong brand of buses to run on these corridors and we are negotiating with the company," he added.
"With government assurance, we are confident that the corridors required for the purpose will be ready in another month's time and we shall follow up the matter. I want to start the service by December end for sure," he assured.
Asked about fares, Khobragade said, "These buses will be like aeroplanes on the road and commuters will have to pay an extra fare for these buses, and we are working out details of the fare chart." At present, BEST has 51 air-conditioned buses in its fleet and its starting minimum fare is 13.
High capacity bus corridors, also called dedicated lanes, for the BEST are also a part of the Mumbai Urban Infrastructure Project of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) high capacity bus corridors and work on which is already under progress along the eastern express highway.
It may be recalled that the MSRTC also announced plans on Nov 1 to introduce Kinglong brand of buses for its Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai Nashik and other inter-city routes.