After planning for an internal bus service within the Bandra-Kurla Complex for more than two years, the city’s development authority has finalised on introducing electric and hybrid buses within the business district to ferry passengers to and from the neighbouring railway stations.
Based on a report by consultants, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to purchase up to 50 electric and hybrid buses having a combination of 25 and 40 seats for the Bandra Kurla Complex. The business district is currently under-served by public transport. During peak hours, the few buses that ply here are over-crowded and there is a dire shortage of auto-rickshaws and taxis as well.
The buses will connect Bandra Kurla Complex with neighbouring railway stations such as Sion, Bandra and Kurla and undertake about 250 to 300 trips a day.
“The consultancy study has recommended this. Now we have invited expressions of interest from manufacturers to know the market and accordingly understand what kind of an operation model, capex model, fare structure and so on would be feasible,” said an MMRDA official who did not wish to be named. He added that the development authority expects these parameters to be finalised within two months.
The electric buses will be fuel-free and run simply on power, while hybrid buses will need diesel to start up while the drive would be powered by electricity. The MMRDA is yet to decide on how many buses of each category will it procure. It is also yet to work out the details of the number of 25-seater and 40-seater buses that will need to be ordered, the official said.
“40-seater buses will be useful as they will carry more people in one trip. However, the occupancy may be much lower during non-peak hours. Also, the turning radius in areas near the railway stations is more suitable for a 25-seater than a 40-seater bus. We will consider all these factors and take a decision,” he added.
The MMRDA was earlier in talks with the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) undertaking to ply 45 buses in the Bandra Kurla Complex. However, the latter had said it has no place to park the buses and had asked the development authority to provide for land to set up parking facilities within the business district.
With the land in Bandra Kurla Complex being a prime asset for the development authority to fund costly infrastructure projects in the city, the two agencies failed to reach an agreement.