The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking seems to be regretting spending more than Rs 200 crore on China-made air-conditioned Kinglong buses.
Members of the BEST committee, during their fortnightly meeting on Thursday, discussed how commuters had complained that these purple buses were breaking down frequently.
There are 284 Kinglong buses in the BEST’s total fleet of 4,700. They were among the 1,000 buses the BEST bought under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Commuters have complained that the driver asks them to get down if the Kinglong bus is crowded and needs to drive up a flyover. Sources said the horsepower of Kinglong buses does not support climbing steep flyovers.
“We have received complaints that the driver of these buses halt before the start of the flyover and asks commuters to get down,” said Dilip Patel, a member of the BEST committee. Sunil Ganacharya, another member of the BEST committee, said, “Commuters say they are often asked to push the bus up flyovers.” There have also been cases of Kinglong buses catching fire or experiencing engine failures or problems with the radiator or clutch, BEST sources said.
“Kinglong buses are not built to climb flyovers of higher gradients,” said OP Gupta, GM, BEST. “We will study the problem.