6 new ‘electric’ BEST buses to start plying in Mumbai from today
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking on Friday added six new electric buses to its fleet, which will start plying on limited routes in Mumbai from today.
The buses, which can cover a distance of around 300 km on a single charge, will ply in areas around Churchgate and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM). At present, they can be charged from single point installed at Backbay Depot.
The 30-seater buses have been acquired at a cost of Rs 1.61 crore each, more than twice the cost of a regular bus. However, unlike their hybrid or CNG counterparts, these buses will completely on electricity and cut down on air and noise pollution.
According to BEST Committee Chairman, Anil Kokil, the buses will ply on route number 138, 112, 100, Special 9, Special-2, Forty Ferry-1 and Fort Ferry-2. The fares for the electric buses is the same as regular buses.
Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray inaugurated four of the six buses at the Wadala bus depot today. The buses will run a couple of services today, while the scheduled services will start from tomorrow.
— Amit Bhadricha (@AmitBhadricha) November 10, 2017
The Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) helped finance the buses.
“BMC granted Rs 100 crore to BEST to purchase buses. Of this, Rs 90 crore was used to buy 185 regular BEST buses, and the remaining Rs 10 crore were used to buy six electric buses from Goldstone Group,” BEST spokesperson Hanumant Gophane told The Hindu.
The debt-ridden BEST will operate the electric buses on a trial basis to ascertain their economic viability.
Meanwhile, the undertaking has also been directed to increase profitability by increasing ticket rates and curtailing welfare schemes.
Prior to Mumbai, Nagpur in Maharastra and Himachal Pradesh have introduced electric buses on certain routes.