20 new hybrid buses to start plying from BKC to Bandra, Sion stations next week
At least 20 brand new hybrid-electric AC buses are scheduled to hit Mumbai’s roads next week, in line with the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport’s (BEST) plan to make public transportation more environmentally friendly.
The 20 new buses have already been registered and certified by the regional transport office (RTO), and are expected to start plying in the next ten days, reported Times of India.
“Developed indigenously, the 32-seater Tata Starbus hybrid-electric AC buses have been handed over to the MMRDA after registration. We will ask the BEST to start plying them by mid-March,” a senior MMRDA official told the daily.
The buses, procured at a cost of almost Rs 1.7 crore each, will be operated on the route between Bandra and Sion stations via Bandra-Kurla Complex. They will cater to thousands of office-goers in the bustling area.
MMRDA plans to add five more buses to its fleet in the coming days. All 25 were ordered back in 2016 and were scheduled to start plying by December last year.
The hybrid buses, officials say, are roughly 30 percent more cost effective than regular buses. The minimum and maximum fares for the bus will be Rs 15 and 25 respectively. The fares, however, will increase by Rs 5 once the impending hike is approved by the BMC.
Since the buses are different than conventional ones, drivers and conductors are required to undergo training to operate them. The buses feature a host of improvements like better visibility, wider corridors and lower doors and ramps.
They also include a number of modern amenities like CCTV cameras, charging points, Wi-Fi hotspots among others.
In a landmark decision last month, the BEST committee cleared the proper proposal to wet lease 450 buses for a period of seven years for Rs 612 crore last month. The debt-ridden undertaking has around 3,330 buses in its fleet at present.