New BEST services to cut travel time
After receiving suggestions from commuters, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking has decided to introduce a new service in which buses will halt at select stops.
The ‘Express Stop’ buses will also ply over new flyovers and the Bandra-Worli sea link, which is expected to open to the public next month.
BEST says the service would reduce travel time by at least 25 per cent. But commuters will have to pay 40 per cent more than the ordinary fare.
The ‘Express Stop’ service is set to start within four months. The service will include air-conditioned buses, which will also be operated via flyovers in the city, suburbs and adjoining areas.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority is constructing four flyovers over Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Road, between Sion and Byculla.
“The new buses will pass over the Bandra-Worli sea link for which the undertaking will pay toll as per the rule,” said BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade. “But this will not reflect in the fare charges.”
However, the proposed rates clearly indicate the charges are more than the usual.
The proposal was cleared by the BEST committee on Thursday despite opposition from the Congress and Samajwadi Party.
BEST now operates 12 routes between Bandra and Worli that pass through the congested Mahim Causeway. BEST officials have not yet decided how many routes they will operate via flyovers.
The detour across the sea link is expected to save nearly 30-40 minutes for commuters who will avoid traffic jams in Mahim. “So far, we have not finalised the number of routes. We are working on it,” said Khobragade.
The state government has also approved in principle the proposal of dedicated bus lanes on the eastern and western express highways. “The dedicated bus lanes and the new flyovers will definitely save commuting time,” said Khobragade.
“We will finalise the routes after a joint survey with the traffic police.”