Mumbaiites, your BEST commute is set to get cheaper as panel clears proposal to reduce fares
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus fares are likely to reduce considerably, as the BEST committee on Tuesday approved a proposal for the same.
Currently, the minimum BEST fare is Rs 8 for a 2-km journey and for air conditioned (AC) buses, it is Rs 20. For a distance of 5km, 10km,15km and above 15km, BEST has proposed fares of Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs15 and Rs 20, respectively. It has proposed fares of Rs 6, Rs 13, Rs 19 and Rs 25 for air-conditioned (AC) buses.
The proposal will now be sent to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which is likely to take a decision on June 27, and it will later be forwarded to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) for final approval.
“The process will take over a month after which the new fares will be implemented,” said Surendrakumar Bagde, general manager of BEST. No formal date for implementing the revised fares has been announced yet.
The BMC has agreed to give Rs 100 crore as financial aid to BEST, but with a few conditions. To fulfil these conditions, BEST needs to to expand its fleet to 7,000 by October and reduce fares.
With an aim to increase BEST’s daily commuters to 50 lakh from the current around 22 lakh, BEST plans to induct over 3,000 new buses in its fleet.
While panel members welcomed the fare reduction, they said the proposal was brought in hurriedly and could prove to be a mess in the near future, as it is being implemented without adequate number of buses on roads.
“We are doing this at the cost of taxpayers’ money, but it would be a mess if not executed with proper planning,” said Sunil Ganacharya, senior BJP member of the panel.
Ravi Raja, senior Congress member on panel and opposition leader in BMC, also warned that the reduction of the fares without ‘Intelligent Transport Management System in place will be a failure. Shrikant Kavathankar, another BJP member on the panel, said, “If the administration wants to increase its fleet size to 6,000 buses, they will need to hire around 9,000 more conductors and procure 3,000 ticket machines. None of this has been mentioned in the proposal.”
Meanwhile, Yashwant Jadhav, standing committee chairman of civic body said all new buses that will be part of the fleet will have compulsory door closure.