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How can Mumbai’s BEST get better? Experts want live tracking of buses, competitive fares

Mumbai transport experts suggested installing GPS systems on BEST buses

mumbai Updated: Aug 20, 2017 01:00 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
BEST buses,GPS,Google Maps
Allowing private players to utilise bus depots, providing subsidies to buses and getting the BMC to take responsibility for the organisation and support it financially were some of the suggestions made at a meeting on Saturday.(HT File)

Wish you could track your bus on Google Maps while waiting at the bus stop? This may soon be possible.

Installing GPS systems on the city’s Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses was just one of the suggestions made by transport experts at a meeting held on Saturday to discuss how the transport body’s flagging fortunes could be revived.

They not only suggested major changes, such as the introduction of competitive fare structures on specific routes and bus rapid transport systems on the Western Express Highway, but also several minor changes aimed at increasing commuters’ reliance on BEST.

Allowing private players to utilise bus depots, providing subsidies to buses and getting the BMC to take responsibility for the organisation and support it financially were some of the suggestions made. The BEST bus system is facing its worst-ever crisis, owing to a financial crunch. Management has been unable to pay staff’s salaries on time. HT, in its BEST Bachao series, had highlighted these problems and the need to save Mumbai’s iconic bus service.

Following the series, several transport experts and eminent citizens had written an open letter to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking to draw his attention to the issue. After they submitted a note to BEST management suggesting ideas to revive the transport body, they were invited for a meeting to discuss potential solutions.

“Introducing short lanes and ensuring that one bus plies every 40 seconds will attract commuters,” said Ashok Datar, transport expert. Transport expert AK Shenoy said the BEST transport wing suffered heavy loses after the transport deficit loss recovered — the profits of which it could use — was shut. “The BMC should have supported the transport body at once,” he added.

BEST committee chairperson Anil Kokil said he would approach civic chief Ajoy Mehta with the suggestions. “The meeting was fruitful. We received several good suggestions, which we plan to implement,” he added.

BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said he liked the suggestion that bus routes should be displayed on the back of the vehicle. “This will help commuters know exactly where each bus will stop. We will implement the idea soon,” he said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 01:00 IST