Even as the citys development authority and the public bus transport utility have jointly decided to dedicate 45 buses to ply within the plush Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC),which is largely under-served by public transport,the plan hangs fire as there is no space to park these buses.
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has requested the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to provide land within the business district,which the latter is yet to decide on,considering the high value of land in BKC.
U P S Madan,metropolitan commissioner of MMRDA,said,They are asking for space to park the buses. We will need a detailed discussion as it is difficult to spare a lot of land in BKC.
The MMRDA uses its land bank in BKC and other places across the city to fund costly infrastructure projects in Mumbai.
Madan said though BEST had its depots,including the one in Dharavi,close to BKC,officials from the transport agency had said it was already packed to its capacity and would not be able to cater to additional buses.
O P Gupta,general manager,BEST,said,We have requested for land to provide parking within BKC and set up a terminus. Failing which,it will be difficult to operate these services.
Gupta added that they had such spaces at several locations where BEST provided dedicated bus services such as Mantralaya and CST,and it was important to have a terminus at BKC too.
The MMRDA will reportedly provide the capital,while BEST will operate the service. Providing buses to ply within BKC and to nearby stations such as Bandra,Kurla and Sion has been on MMRDAs agenda for more than a year. During peak hours,the few BEST buses that ply the region are over-crowded and there is a shortage of auto rickshaws,residents said.
More than a year ago,the MMRDA was in talks with BEST and had agreed to purchase 20 low-floor buses. The plan was to ask BEST to float tenders to procure these buses with MMRDA providing the capital. However,the plan failed to take off.
After he took over as the metropolitan commissioner,Madan was also contemplating the introduction of battery-operated buses in the business district. However,a preliminary study by MMRDA showed that it was not viable.