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Mumbai commute to get smoother, hybrid AC buses on roads soon

The MMRTA gave its nod to introduce 25 hybrid electric buses

mumbai Updated: Sep 29, 2017 10:34 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
These 32-seater duel fuel, low-floor, air-conditioned buses will operate on routes connecting BKC to the Bandra, Kurla and Sion railway stations.
These 32-seater duel fuel, low-floor, air-conditioned buses will operate on routes connecting BKC to the Bandra, Kurla and Sion railway stations.(HT FILE)

Do you work at Bandra-Kurla Complex? Good news, your commute is about to get a lot smoother.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) chaired by transport secretary Manoj Saunik, gave its nod to the introduction of 25 hybrid electric buses on Wednesday.

These 32-seater duel fuel, low-floor, air-conditioned buses will operate on routes connecting BKC to the Bandra, Kurla and Sion railway stations. They are not only expected to ease the commute of lakhs of officers goers working at one of Mumbai’s largest business districts, but also reduce vehicular congestion.

The buses, bought by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), will be operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking that holds stage carriage operation rights in the city.

The price of tickets will range between Rs15 and Rs25.

A senior regional transport official said the MMRTA approval was needed as the bus owners and permit holders were separate entities.

Manufactured by Tata Motors, each bus costs Rs1.61 crore and are equipped with mobile charging points, digital displays, a passenger announcement system, bucket seats, WiFi and automatic fare collection systems.

Until now, MMRDA has handed over five buses to the BEST. A senior BEST official said the process of registering another six buses at the regional transport office was ongoing. The transport body has started training drivers to operate these high-end buses.

“The MMRDA will take a final call on launching these buses,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified. The MMRDA spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Though the plan to introduce eco-friendly buses in BKC was conceived in 2013, it was delayed owing to issues with the overall structure of the plan, operations and maintenance.