You may soon get a comfortable, airconditioned (AC) bus ride directly from your office to your residential complex. The state government is planning to roll out direct point-to-point AC buses from large business districts like Nariman Point and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) to main residential conclaves of the city like Hiranandani Powai or Kandivli's Thakur complex.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday finalised a plan to get this service on the roads this year. The first route, and a pilot bus service, is likely to be initiated within a month.
Currently, the BEST runs 210 AC buses on 28 routes. However, they are not direct, and stop at various points along the way.
Conceptualised by Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU) in consultation with Mumbai police traffic department and BEST, the idea is to offer a comfortable commute to middle- and senior-management executives from home to office.
In the first phase, a survey is being carried out to ascertain the demand in order to fix the most popular bus routes. Four survey forms are being handed out --to the general public to ascertain mass demand, to corporates, their employees and existing commuters of AC buses.
"We are requesting company-based data of travel routes, and travel allowances of employees from HR managers of big corporates. Our target group is self-driven cars, because these occupy most road space," said Prachi Merchant, consultant with MTSU.
MTSU has initiated dialogues with offices at MIDC Marol Association, BKC Association, etc. One pilot route is expected to start after the survey.
Merchant added that depending on the demand of the citizens, more routes would get added and at a later stage the state would seek funds from the Centre for new buses.
Under this project, MTSU is also looking at rationalising existing AC bus routes to make them viable. For instance, currently there are four AC buses from Thane, but many of them run empty on the return trips. On one route starting from Cadbury Junction to Backbay, the bus mostly empties out at Sion.
All these questions are also being addressed through a commuter survey.
Anyone interested in the service, can fill out the survey form at www.bestcommute.org.