In a major relief for over 30 lakh suburban commuters, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has not proposed any fare hike in the 2017-18 financial budget presented by general manager Jagdish Patil before the BEST committee members on Wednesday.
This means the prevailing BEST tariff for the ordinary and the air-conditioned (AC) buses remains the same till 2018 March. The tariff remains unchanged despite the undertaking incurring losses worth Rs565.74 crore from its transport wing. The BEST administration has demanded a subsidy of Rs565 crore from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to offset this loss.
However, the opposition termed the move a political gimmick before the 2017 BMC elections. “This is nothing but a political gimmick by the ruling party before the 2017 civic elections. They will burden the commuters with fare revision after the election, as they had done in 2014,” said Kedar Hombalkar, BEST committee member.
Meanwhile, the undertaking has proposed to set up pay-and-use e-toilets at 45 bus stops for convenience of its commuters, especially women passengers. Considered as tech and environment-friendly, e-toilets are makeshift facilities that can be moved around and are equipped with electronic facility for accepting money from the users, thus reducing manual intervention.
The BEST administration has also proposed renovation of one of the bus depots, for which Rs100 crore would be collected in the next three years. The project could be funded by the BMC, the state government or executed using the private-public-partnership (PPP) model. The undertaking has already appointed a committee to study all its depots, revenue generation model for them, and to suggest the depots which can be renovated so that one of it can be finalised for renovation by February 2017.
2017-18 BEST financial budget
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Expenses in Rs
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