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Two months on, 10 AC electric buses for BKC gather dust in Mumbai’s BEST depots

Officials said the MMRDA is waiting for a date from the chief minister’s office to launch the buses, which are meant to improve connectivity to Bandra-Kurla Complex.

mumbai Updated: Oct 31, 2017 12:15 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
The MMRDA has ordered 25 hybrid electric buses, each costing Rs 1.61 crore, of which 10 have been delivered.(HT FILE)

The new eco-friendly hybrid electric AC buses, bought to improve bus connectivity to Bandra-Kurla Complex, have been gathering dust at BEST depots for almost two months now despite the fact that their launch would benefit scores of passengers.

Sources said the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) intended to launch the buses before Diwali, but it did not work out. Now, the authority is waiting for a date from the chief minister’s office for the launch, an official said, on condition of anonymity.

A BEST spokesperson said that as the MMRDA owns the buses, it will decide the launch date, but the concerned MMRDA officials did not respond when asked about the buses.

The MMRDA had ordered 25 hybrid electric buses, each costing Rs 1.61 crore. Of these, it has received 10 buses till now and also, the BEST undertaking, which will operate these buses, has already registered these buses at RTOs on behalf of MMRDA.

Currently, due to delay in introducing these 32-seater hybrid electric air-conditioned buses, the buses are gathering dust at the BEST’s Anik, Kurla and Dharavi depots. “BEST is even done training the drivers, who are going to drive the new buses,” said a source.

The 32-seater AC buses have low floors and come with facilities like mobile charging points, digital display, passenger announcement system, bucket seats, WiFi and automatic fare collection system, among others.

The BS IV compliant buses run on diesel and electric power. The buses have advanced lithium ion phosphate batteries getting recharged while engine is running, and its electronic braking system generates power each time the driver presses the breaks.

BEST will operate these buses on routes connecting BKC with Bandra, Kurla and Sion railway stations, and the passengers will have to shell out Rs15-Rs25 for it.

First Published: Oct 31, 2017 12:14 IST