BEST faces yet another revenue setback as 300 auctioned buses find no takers

BEST faces yet another revenue setback as 300 auctioned buses find no takers
Representational Image. Picture Courtesy: Rishi Aggarwaal’s blog

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport’s (BEST) transport division is facing yet another ‘revenue’ hurdle, as its plans of raising Rs 9 crore by auctioning of old buses has failed to generate any interest among buyers.

The cash-strapped division has been facing losses for years now. It has resorted to changing strategy, auctioning off assets, renting out premises among others, but has failed to churn profit because of the fixed ticket prices.

Recently, BEST had attempted to sell 300 worn out buses in an attempt to raise Rs 9 crore. However, the buses are now lying idle at Anik Bus depot owing to lack of interest from prospective buyers.

The buses are now occupying precious parking space and deteriorating with each passing day.

According to one BEST committee member, the buses need to be auctioned off at the earliest to ensure that the minimum reserve price of Rs 3 lakh per bus is met.

One of the reasons behind the delay in auctioning off the buses is the gaps between two auctions. Since the division conducts auctions after a gap of 3-6 months, the buses continue to rot during the waiting period.

BEST general manager Jagdish Patil has accepted the committee’s suggestion of holding frequent auctions and decided to hold another one by the end of this month.

Once the buses are sold, BEST will start the process of procuring new ones. While some have suggested that the division take buses on lease instead of purchasing them, the suggestion has met with opposition from Shiv Sena and a few other members on the BEST panel.

Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court had asked BEST to stop levying the Transport Division Loss Recovery (TDLR) surcharge to electricity consumers. The BEST recovers an estimated Rs 900 crore annually by levying the TDLR surcharge.

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