The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation’s (MSRTC) plan to run an air-conditioned bus route between the airport and Nariman Point has failed to take off.
The MSRTC says the project is unfeasible as it would require paying a huge amount as rent to the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).
“The MIAL is demanding Rs 3 lakh as monthly rent for using their facility inside the airport. We can carry out maintenance of several buses for the same amount,” said a senior official from MSRTC, requesting anonymity.
The state transport organisation has around 17,000 buses in its fleet across the state.
“We will ask the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) to provide us with space outside the airport where these air-conditioned buses can stop,” said State Transport Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
Presently, there are limited stops at the depots and on the highways where state transport buses halt.
The MSRTC had proposed to start two services of air-conditioned buses between the destination points with limited halts along the way.
The agency was to run Volvo buses on this point-to-point route.
From a fleet of 82 air-conditioned Volvo buses, the corporation owns only 15 and the rest are on lease.
The proposed bus services were to run the longer air-conditioned ‘Shivneri’ buses instead of the newly launched 39-seater ‘Sheetal’ buses on this route.
The BEST is already running its air-conditioned buses for ferrying people from the terminal till the aircraft, which might soon get withdrawn as the Centre has said that these buses, bought under JNNURM, are meant for running on city roads.
Meanwhile, the MSRTC also plans to cut short the life of its buses from eight years to five.
The transport minister also announced that they were thinking about reducing the age for replacement of buses.
Presently of the total fleet, 45 per cent are below five years of age, while the corporation on an average replaces around 1,472 buses every year.
As per the current procedure, once a bus crosses eight years, it is run beyond the Mumbai Metropolitan region.