In a move that will revolutionise Mumbai’s transport, BEST has finally decided to go one level further and upped its services majorly.
Starting with the plan to ply Electric Hybrid buses in BKC, BEST has gone step further to convert some of its existing fleet into Electric buses.
In a very bold and revolutionary move, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai [MCGM] has allocated ₹10crore to retrofit existing BEST buses with a a Lithium battery powered engine. A batch of five buses will be converted first on a trial basis. BEST has stated that the cost of conversion from Diesel or CNG to Electric buses has gone down from an earlier figure of ₹65lakh to ₹35lakh.
Back in February, shortly after the #MakeInIndia week, BEST announced a design overhaul for its buses. The existing 12 metre long buses have an overhang beyond the rear tyres of the bus that often gets damaged when the bus gets rear ended. In order to eliminate this, 300 new buses which are 11 metre in length are being procured. These new buses will also be fitted with plugpoints for charging phones.
Another major development is the proposal to introduce app-based ticketing on BEST buses.
The MCGM has budgeted ₹25 crores for 50 buses, that will be air-conditioned, fitted with a GPS-based tracker, besides offering WiFi, newspapers and drinking water. Conductors would wear a different uniform than the standard Khaki that they wear normally. This is a great exercise for branding the buses, and will help BEST create a better image for their fleet. The buses will primarily run on routes connecting Metro stations and local Railway stations, thus mainly acting as feeders.
Interesting ways have been taken by BEST to improve its image, especially for its ailing AC fleet that still continues to be dominated by the Purple Faeries.
With the completion of the Oshiwara Railway bridge as well as the conversion of the DC traction along the harbour line to AC, Railway services are going to get more efficient and BEST will have to match up to the Purple Dragons than run on the tracks. BEST will need to make its Red Warhorses and Red Minions [Regular and Minibuses] work smarter to ferry more people and earn more revenue to keep the city as awesome as it has been.
However, the greatest bit of Publicity that BEST can get right now is that after Uber founder Travis Kalanick took a BEST, a BEST Double Decker was used to ferry Prince Henry, Duke of Cambridge and his wife, Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge.
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