BEST’s newly acquired state-of-the-art buses to start plying from Friday
Come Friday, city commuters will be able to ride on the BEST’s newly acquired buses which are more comfortable for both passengers and drivers, boast of high-tech features and offer better security.
After a four month delay, the BEST acquired three new buses on Monday and is currently in the process of getting them registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). The buses will ply from Backbay Depot in Colaba from Friday.
At least four more will be inducted in the BEST’s fleet by end of this week and another 23 will be added by the end of March.
Unfortunately, since the buses were expected to arrive by December last year, a major chunk of the money allotted by the civic body for the procurement of the new buses might remain unutilized in the current fiscal.
In total, the undertaking is set to acquire 303 such buses from Tata Motors at a cost of Rs 51 lakh each.
The remaining buses are likely to be inducted by July-August.
The newly acquired BEST buses offer:
* More legroom: The new buses will offer more legroom to passengers as they are 12 metres long, a metre more than the existing ones, and have more space between seats.
* Automatic transmission: The buses are equipped with automatic transmission which make them easier to drive in city traffic, don’t require frequent clutch replacements and make the commute less jerky.
* Easy access: Both entry and exit gates have been widened from 600 mm to 650 mm to make it easier for passengers to get into or out of during rush hours.
* Charging points: The buses are equipped with at least eight mobile charging points for passengers and a dedicated charging point for conductors to charge their ticketing machine.
* Emergency door: In addition to the existing emergency exit at the back, a new exit has been added to the side to allow for easy evacuation in case of emergencies.
* Better ventilation: The buses are equipped with a central air circulation system that will remove excess humidity and odour from the bus.
* More space for standees: The seats facing the rear door have been removed to make space for more standees.
* PA system: The driver will get access to a passenger announcement system that will be used to relay important communication.
* Driver comfort: An air-circulation vent has been added to keep the driver’s surrounding pleasant. He will also be able to adjust both steering wheel and driver seat for an optimal driving position.
* Longer side mirrors: The new buses also boast of longer and more ergonomic mirrors which provide better visibility and can help prevent mishaps.
According to BEST General Manager Jagdish Patil, the acquisition is a part of the undertaking’s plan to woo more passengers and make the commute more passenger-friendly.
Over the last decade, the number of BEST commuters has almost halved to 30 lakh per month. The undertaking is now hoping to win back commuters and increase their ridership with a slew of such measures.
Last month, the BEST committee also approved the proposal to provide free WiFi connectivity in over 4,015 AC and non-AC buses. The project is expected to go live by November this year, at an estimated cost of Rs 2 crore.
A detailed view of the new buses (Courtesy: TOI)