Mumbai won’t get mini buses, as BEST rejects proposal
After BEST shut down AC operations on account of a loss of Rs80 crore a month, transport experts suggested addition of mini buses to the fleet to tackle traffic congestion and reduce the commute timemumbai Updated: Sep 28, 2017 22:19 IST
The BEST committee, which includes politicians, on Thursday rejected the management’s proposal to get 100 mini buses, including 50 AC buses, on rent, claiming it would lead to “privatisation”. The plan to include experts from the field of transport and finances by reducing the number of politicians, too, was turned down.
After BEST shut down AC operations on account of a loss of Rs80 crore a month, transport experts suggested addition of mini buses to the fleet to tackle traffic congestion and reduce the commute time. “This could lead to privatisation. The price quoted by the management [to get the buses] is too high,” said Ravi Raja, a committee member.
The BEST had ordered 303 environment-friendly Tata buses last year, of which only 185 were procured.
The order for the rest was cancelled owing to lack of funds. In an earlier meeting, the committee members suggested the management buy 118 Tata buses, remaining from the 303 buses, to deal with the absence of AC buses.
BEST sources said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked a detailed report on why the cash-strapped authority ordered 303 buses if they didn’t have the money.
Experts feel commuters don’t want to take bulky buses as they take a lot of time to navigate through congested roads and adding mini buses could have solved the problem. “If BEST doesn’t have the money to buy buses, why get mini buses on rent. The government is getting loan and support for the bullet train, but not for BEST. Committee members should not be afraid of privatization. They should help the organization get money to buy buses. Committee members need to give constructive criticism, instead of just rejecting a proposal,” said AV Shenoy, transport expert.