BEST to induct 900 double-decker AC electric buses
MUMBAI Passengers traveling by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses will soon be able to enjoy a cool ride in double-decker AC electric buses.
The civic body’s BEST committee on Tuesday cleared a proposal to procure 900 such buses on wet lease basis. Under the model, the BEST does not own the vehicles but hires them from contractors along with the drivers at a fixed rate for each km.
In the first phase, 400 buses are expected to arrive this year, including 200 at a cost of Rs.132 crore, by March. The remaining buses will be procured in 2023.
“This move will help commuters as the number of buses will increase. We are already operating mini and midi AC buses. All 900 buses will arrive by 2023,” Lokesh Chandra, general manager, BEST, said.
The BEST had in December 2021 planned to procure 200 electric double-decker AC buses and subsequently added another 200 buses. The number was later increased to 900.
A double-decker bus has a capacity to carry 79 passengers. It was introduced by the BEST in 1937 and it gained popularity among commuters and tourists visiting the city. From an initial fleet of 141 during 1947-1948, it grew to 882 in 1993.
At present, there are only 48 double-decker buses in a fleet of 3,377 buses. Rest of the buses were phased out from the aging fleet. The drop in their number was also because of the difficulty and higher cost of maintenance. The number of single-decker buses, including AC mini and midi, stands at 3,329.
The BEST buses presently have an estimated ridership of 2.7 million passengers every day. It is the second biggest mass transport system in Mumbai after the suburban railway network. The BEST operates buses on nearly 400 routes in the city.
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