Nearly three weeks after the undertaking invited feedback from commuters on the proposed colour scheme for Mumbai’s iconic BEST buses, an overwhelming majority have voted to retain the existing red colour and ditch the new white exterior.
Although the BEST committee had approved the new look, the final decision was to be taken after evaluating feedback from commuters, who cited reasons like ‘retaining character’ and ‘easier maintenance’ in favour of keeping the buses red.
To garner feedback, the BEST introduced two buses featuring the new ‘white and yellow’ colour scheme on a pilot basis last month. The buses, designed by students of JJ School of Arts, were introduced on April 27.
With the survey nearing completion, an overwhelming majority of commuters – over 90 percent according to a Mumbai Mirror report – have asked the BEST to retain the red colour scheme.
Commuters cited reasons like ease of maintenance, preserving the heritage/character of the buses and curbing unnecessary spending to convince the undertaking from switching the colour scheme.
While it’s safe to assume that the BEST will continue with red buses going forward, the final decision will be announced after the survey results are collated by the end of this month and submitted to the committee for review.
Incidentally, BEST buses have been red in colour since post-Independence. During this 70 year period, the undertaking has managed to increase operations from 23 routes to 500 routes and daily ridership from 2.3 lakh to 30 lakh.
However, over the last decade, the BEST has been shrouded in debts due to decline in ridership brought on by unreliable services, advent of alternate means of travel and lack of passenger friendly amenities.
The undertaking is now trying to address these issues in a bid to turn things around and attain profitability. Last month, it even discontinued AC bus services to cut down losses.