BEST decides to scrap, curtail few AC bus routes

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 22 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The BEST is incurring huge losses running its fleet of air-conditioned buses. It has now decided to curtail at least three to four routes and cancel a few in coming weeks.

From February 1, the BEST plans to cancel the AC bus route -- number AS-503-- from Wadala bus depot to Kalamboli bus station. Officials said that the route was loss-making and there was no good response from commuters throughout the day.
"We are conducting an audit of all the AC buses. Several buses are lying idle at depots for repairs,'' said another official. The BEST has incurred losses to the tune of nearly Rs 100 crore annually maintaining these buses, a BEST committee member pointed out.

"The buses are a huge burden for the undertaking. We plan to scrap them as early as possible and buy good quality AC buses for Mumbai very soon,'' said Kedar Hombalkar, MNS member in the committee.

"The previous purchase of AC buses was faulty and these vehicles face breakdowns on arterial roads and flyovers,'' he added.
Citizens group demand good quality bus service in city

MUMBAI : Citizen groups and those in the opposition in the BEST committee say there is no justification for asking people to pay for two fare hikes when the BEST cannot run itself efficiently.

"We are strongly against the two hikes (February and April) as it will not solve the problems faced by the cash-strapped transport body," pointed out Congress member Shivji Singh. "To add to the citizens' woes, we are asking the civic corporation to impose a transport cess in property tax. Are we providing better bus services in return ? The answer is an emphatic No. Our buses are in pathetic condition, more than 100 buses need urgent repairs, the seats/handles are broken and the air-conditioned buses face breakdowns frequently," he said at the recently held committee meeting.

He pointed out that the fleet strength had dipped in the past three years (and it has been brought down to 4,200). Surprisingly, the losses have mounted from Rs 14 lakh per bus to Rs 22 lakh. "Had we kept the same fleet or increased it, the losses could have been more. We are now facing an annual loss to the tune of nearly Rs 900 crore and this is uncalled for," he said.

Samajwadi Party member Yakub Memon said that citizens did not mind paying more if the services were of good quality. "We were known to be one of the best bus services in the country, but our quality has deteriorated. We first need to set our own house in order -- repair the buses, introduce new services and revamp the timings of some of the buses so that it caters to the realistic demand of passengers," he said at the panel meeting.

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