As the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) completes 71 years on Tuesday, a commuter body plans to suggest ways to improve its ridership. Reducing fares and introduction of dedicated bus lanes are part of the suggestions.
The primary bus utility in the city, which faces an annual loss of Rs 1,000 crore, has dipped to 28 lakh riders from 40 lakh. Under the initiative ‘Save BEST’, the group plans to advise BEST on ways that could improve the financial position of the undertaking. “The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) should pay off the debts of the undertaking. Considering that BEST is facing heavy losses, the state government can equally contribute to help the undertaking,” said Husain Indorewala, assistant professor, Kamala Rahej Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies.
Bringing down fares, introducing dedicated bus lanes and pollution-congestion costs for private vehicles will boost ridership for BEST. Commuters have also asked the undertaking to increase funds for maintaining buses. “The undertaking should work on increasing its fleet and tapping areas which have not been explored. Inclusive policies to encourage women commuters and senior citizens to travel in buses should be encouraged,” Indorewala added.
Ashok Datar, a transport expert, said, “Road infrastructure must be improved so that buses can drive without any trouble. Rationalising fares for bus tickets and passes must be the aim.”