BEST’s 250 new buses won’t hit the roads anytime soon | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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BEST’s 250 new buses won’t hit the roads anytime soon

It’s an odd problem of plenty — the city’s primary bus service will get around 250 new buses by March, and doesn’t know what to do with them.

mumbai Updated: Jan 13, 2010 00:26 IST
Shashank Rao

It’s an odd problem of plenty — the city’s primary bus service will get around 250 new buses by March, and doesn’t know what to do with them.

The new lot of buses — including regular and air-conditioned Kinglong buses — was meant to feed both the planned new Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) project, and planned new routes on the regular bus service run by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST).

Both those projects are yet to take off.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, originally announced as the implementing agency for BRTS, has refused to play this role, pointing instead to the government and the BMC. And BEST is yet to identify new routes to augment its route network.

So, with both projects still on paper, BEST will have 250 new buses to park at its near-saturation depots — where they will gather dust and depreciation.

The 250 new buses are expected to join BEST’s fleet of around 3,600 by March, and will be parked at Anik depot, BEST’S largest. The new buses are part of 1,000 ordered by BEST under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

“We need newer routes to run these buses. And BRTS would have been a good option, had the state taken the plan seriously,” said Dilip Patel, chairman, BEST.

Most of BEST’s roughly 30 bus depots and bus stations across Mumbai are on the verge of saturation.

All this is in contrast to Ahmedabad, whose BRTS, called Janmarg, is the only successful BRTS in the country. Janmarg runs
an 18-km route with 25 buses and is expected to extend that to 88 km.

Janmarg buses reach its 26 stops once every four minutes. Inside each bus is a unit that monitors speed, time of departure from a stop, and location, using the Global Positioning System. If a bus speeds beyond 40-45 kmph, the driver faces action. If a bus follows another too closely, an orange light blinks on a console near the driver, asking him to slow down.

These buses run on the median of the road, with passengers alighting on a 3-ft-high elevated platform and then crossing the road.

During its construction, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corp-oration (AMC) first laid out the BRTS line before constructing a split-flyover at three places. AMC has offered to help Mumbai implement our BRTS if the government asks for it.