Mumbai may get 5 AC electric buses in August | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Mumbai may get 5 AC electric buses in August

Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By
Aug 01, 2019 02:49 AM IST

BEST officials expect to start plying them in August, after completing formalities with the transport authorities. Forty e-buses from the next phase will arrive in the next few months.

After a wait for several months, new electric buses will soon be inducted into the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) fleet.

People lined up for the double decker bus at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai.(Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)
People lined up for the double decker bus at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai.(Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times)

The first batch of the five air-conditioned (AC) e-buses has arrived in Mumbai. Under a Centre-sponsored scheme, BEST will get a total of 80 e-buses, including 40 AC buses. The transport body will get these buses in two phases of 40 buses each. “We have received the first batch of five electric buses at our depots, while the remaining 35 e-buses are expected to arrive soon,” said a senior BEST official.

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BEST officials expect to start plying them in August, after completing formalities with the transport authorities. Forty e-buses from the next phase will arrive in the next few months.

With a fleet of less than 3,100, BEST ferries around 30 lakh commuters daily. Currently, BEST has six non-AC e-buses in its fleet, apart from 25 other hybrid electric buses, which are owned by MMRDA. The city has only 25 AC buses, which are owned by MMRDA

The buses have come at a crucial time, when the city needs them most, especially after the drastic slash in fares of BEST buses, between 5 and 25, for regular and AC buses. While the ridership has touched 27 lakh, from the earlier 17 lakh, passengers are complaining of punctuality and poor frequency, besides shortage of AC buses.

In a first, these buses will be operated on a wet lease model, in which the operator will take responsibility of driver and maintenance of the buses, in the century-old transport body. Also, this is the first time that BEST owns the buses in its fleet, along with a private operator.

Another BEST official said the new e-buses will slightly vary in appearance compared to earlier e-buses. In December 2018, BEST had placed an order for 80 e-buses, including 40 AC buses. According to BEST officials, originally these nine-meter-long midi e-buses were supposed to reach the city by June-end. “Newly arrived buses will first go through the registration process at RTO,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Kailash works with the political team and has been covering transport beat for over a decade. He is interested in travel and music.

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