Members of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) committee on Tuesday said that the delay in procurement of new buses is resulting in long queues at bus stops.
The BEST was supposed to procure the first prototype of the 300 newly ordered buses by December 8, but since it has got postponed till end of January, the overall production is likely to be delayed by a couple of months.
“We are following up with the manufacturers. They were supposed to send prototype in the first week of December but it has been delayed till the third week of January. As soon as the prototype is finalised, the buses’ production will start. This may delay the process by another month,” said Jagdish Patil, BEST general manager.
The committee members alleged that the delay in procurement of buses is adversely affecting the city’s bus services as the total number of buses in the fleet has reduced from 3,800 to 3,500. Of which 10% are always in repairs or under maintenance.
For 29 lakh daily bus commuters this means poor frequency due to unavailability of the requisite number of buses. The BEST bus service is the second mass transporter in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) following, suburban railways that caters to 80 lakh passengers daily.
“The scarcity of buses has already affected services as the waiting time for buses has increased from 10-minutes to half-an-hour in some of the routes,” said Ravi Raja, BEST committee member.
The deteriorating bus service has already forced majority of its users to opt out to share-a-taxi or autos which is easily accessible solution. As result of which in past few years the number of BEST bus commuters has decreased from 40 lakh to 29 lakh daily riders.