Aiming to offer a comfortable ride for daily commuters fed up of long traffic jams and overcrowded buses or uncomfortable taxis,the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will soon run point-to-point airconditioned bus services connecting residential hubs with key business districts.
Not only will the service give office-goers airconditioned comfort,but planners also foresee savings on fuel for car-owners while simultaneously discouraging single-occupancy car trips to the business districts.
In a joint initiative of the Maharashtra government,the BEST and the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit,these services will also see a long overdue rationalisation of BESTs current fleet of 210 airconditioned buses running on 28 loss-making routes.
Point-to-point services usually include a few pick-up stops and drop-off points while ensuring a non-stop ride along the main route,giving direct connectivity from residential hubs to commercial districts.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Friday directed MTSU to expedite surveys that are set to start now,aiming to make an assessment of initial demand from various residential areas to commercial districts.
MTSU officials said the plan is designed to meet the demand for a comfortable and affordable bus ride for daily commuters.
The officials who have already compiled a report working with Mumbai Police Traffic department and the BEST undertaking said these buses will initially service prominent trade,commercial and business districts including Bandra-Kurla Complex,World Trade Centre at Cuffe Parade,Nariman Point,MIDC,SEEPZ and Worli-Parel,connecting these with the suburbs.
Apart from a Quick Survey online on http://www.bestcommute.org ,MTSU will also send survey forms,on request,to major companies and corporates asking HR managers to fill in details of how many cars and drivers are provided,expenditure on these,allowances,etc.
Another on-demand survey will be among employees in these firms,single occupancy car owners who form the main target group of the initiative. Another survey,on board existing AC buses,is already underway, said Prachi Merchant of the MTSU. The surveys have been designed after lengthy discussion with all stakeholders including the traffic police and the BEST,apart from transportation planners and experts,she added.
Merchant said a pilot point-to-point route is expected to be launched by June end. A rationalistaion of four of the BESTs existing routes is also planned for June-July.
Government officials also said the long-term plan includes adding facilities not currently available on AC buses,including features such as laptop plug-in points and route maps as well as iconic branding for buses. Chartered BEST bus services for large companies are also likely in near future,they said.