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The BEST is a fleet of tempos: Critics mock Undertaking

Critics have mocked the BEST, saying it has now become a tempo service, after the latest official statistics show the Undertaking has more mini buses in its fleet than full-size buses. As the BEST on Sunday announced it was permitting 100 per cent seating in its buses with no standees from Monday as part of the latest relaxations, BEST committee members alleged that carrying capacity of the BEST had already reduced by 50 per cent.

“The fleet has come down to less than 2,000 and wet lease buses are about 1,250. The carrying capacity of BEST Undertaking has already been reduced by 50%. I want to know what the BEST Undertaking has planned to clear the rush of commuters in the scenario where even local trains are shut,” BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya said.

As per the BEST official statistics dated May 13, the BEST’s own fleet comprised a mere 1,469 single-decker buses and 48 double-decker buses with midi buses (medium-sized buses) totalling 466 and 25 hybrid fuel buses totalling 2,008. The buses on lease are 1,239 which include only AC midi or minibuses. So BEST has 1,705 midi and mini buses and 1,469 single decker buses. Including both the categories, the mega total of BEST buses is 3,247 only.

“The midi and mini buses are nothing but small tempos which have replaced standard buses. They have replaced highly patronised double decker routes also with such tempos. Mumbai’s citizens are suffering due to smaller buses. Imagine, 200 commuters waiting and a bus of 20-30 seat capacity arriving at the bus stop,” said public transport observer and bus fan Harshad Joshi. Another critic said, “God knows what happened to the promise of 3,337 buses.”

BEST chairman Ashish Chemburkar said he was aware of the anomalies and the Undertaking was already fixing them. “We are not only getting back full-size buses, but also double deckers. As per directives of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray, we need to restore Mumbai’s heritage, and to start with, we have placed orders for 100 double decker buses. The process is awaiting the nod from the municipal commissioner and once the approvals come in, the buses can be processed. In addition to this, we will also get 400 full-size single decker CNG-run buses on wet lease to add more buses to the fleet. All these buses will take the BEST back to the required numbers. Double deckers, especially, have been a Mumbai legacy and all of us have sat in front of the first window of the top deck and had fun.”

1,705
No. of total midi, mini buses the BEST has

1,469
No. of total single deckers the BEST has



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