Soon, commuters will be able to track 100 Air Conditioned (AC) Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses using a mobile app. Commuters will be also able to plan their start-to-end travel using this app.
BEST, in collaboration with Zophop tech, a private firm, is working on a mobile application, which will serve as a means of planning the daily travel of BEST ‘s 30 lakh commuters.
Currently, the BEST is conducting a pilot project on 15 AC buses of its Magathane (Borivli) depot. This will be further extended to another 85 AC buses from the Magathane and Mulund depot.
The app will allow users to locate nearby bus stops, track real-time arrival of buses, look at fares and find out connecting bus routes or other modes of transport to reach their destination.
However, so far, neither BEST nor Zophop Tech is clear about how soon this can be implemented for BEST’s entire fleet of 4,000 buses.
“Initially we will experiment only on AC buses. If successful, it will be implemented for regular buses too,” said RR Deshpande, assistant general manager, BEST undertaking.
The app also enables users to select their favourite bus routes, which they use regularly. They can also send their feedback to BEST officials.
However, the agency’s attempt to introduce mobile ticketing for BEST buses has hit a dead end after six months of trials by a consultant. Last week, the BEST general manager Jagdish Patil said mobile ticketing for BEST buses would take off soon but that is now likely to be delayed.The mobile ticketing prototype demonstration discussed at the BEST committee meeting on Thursday showed that the process requires commuters to book ticket only after boarding the bus. It is also necessary for the conductor to issue a paper ticket.
“The mobile ticketing doesn’t serve a purpose if the passengers have to take a paper ticket from the conductor. Besides, BEST should first start this system for daily passes and then for regular tickets. The mobile app is good and we have suggested few improvements,” said Kedar Hombalkar, BEST committee member.
BEST is ushering in these reforms in a bid to increase their dwindling number of passengers, which has reduced from 40 lakh to 30 lakh in the past few years.