You may have to pay more if you commute by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses as the undertaking has proposed a hike in fares to improve its financial condition, which has been in the doldrums for years.
Under the revised plans, the minimum fare for ordinary buses will be increased to Rs12 from Rs 8, and that of air-conditioned buses will be increased from Rs 20 to Rs25. The plan will be put before the BEST committee for discussion and approval on Thursday.
BEST has also proposed to reduce its fleet of buses from the existing 3,800 to 3,300, besides scrapping all the 250 air-conditioned buses — the reason why it has been incurring heavy losses.
The action plan that BEST has prepared over two months of brainstorming with municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, according to sources, has received a go-ahead to be presented to the BEST panel, last Sunday. BEST also proposed to stop buses on 200 routes. Buses should run only between 6am and 10pm, proposes the plan.
BEST was forced to take loans to pay its employees salary last month. The undertaking has rapidly lost passenger patronage as the number of commuters reduced to 30lakh from the earlier 45lakh. According to sources, BEST also proposed to increase ordinary bus fares by Rs 2 for every 2km and AC bus fares by Rs5 for every 2km.
Sources said that in the plan, BEST also proposed to hike monthly pass rates. This includes concessional passes issued to school kids and media persons. After freezing its recruitment process, BEST has planned to fill its offices in such a way that a single employee could perform multiple tasks. For example, it recruited drivers who could also serve as conductors.
A committee member, who did not want to be named, said that BEST proposed to freeze dearness allowances of 42,000 employees, besides curtailing various other allowances. “The action plan is not going to stand as it has been prepared without taking any legal provisions into account,” he said.
Along with labour unions, the action plan is expected to generate sharp reactions from political parties and citizens.
According to sources, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress have planned to launch an attack on the Shiv Sena, that rules BMC and BEST, at the panel meet on Thursday.