As the trial run of the ‘Mumbai 24 hours’ scheme began Friday, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has announced that 15 additional buses will be pressed into service to ensure that people visiting malls and restaurants in the wee hours are not left stranded for want of transportation.
The BEST undertaking will also undertake a survey to assess the passengers’ demand and roll out another shift of buses that will ply up to 4.30 am to provide extra connectivity from malls and restaurants to different parts of the city.
According to sources, in the first phase at least 15 buses will be pressed into service to improve connectivity of malls and restaurants to the nearest railway stations from February 1. The services will include the newly procured Tejaswini buses and mini buses, both of which are equipped with CCTV cameras.
“Since there will be local train services up to 1.30 am, we will run bus services to ensure passengers can take these train. They will only run from places where there are popular joints, like in Lower Parel and Bandra, to the stations,” a senior official from BEST said.
In the second phase, BEST will deploy traffic officials to study passenger movements of the first two weeks and ascertain which pockets of the city have to be connected. These buses will operate from malls or the popular joints to eastern and western suburbs.
“These buses will be operated up to 4.30 am, for which we might have to start for an additional shift. At present, we run buses up to 12.30 am which can be easily stretched to 2.30 am. But if we have to run buses till 4.30 am then we might have to start another shift,” the official added.
General Manager of BEST, Surendrakumar Bagde, said, “We support the ‘Mumbai 24 hours’ move and are looking forward to provide bus services depending on the need.”
Auto and taxi unions are also gearing up to provide safer mode of transportation to citizens.
Autorickshaw union leader Thampi Kurian said, “We already have autos which work in night shift. It will open up avenues and we are willing to install tracking devices in meters that can give passengers a facility to track their vehicle.”
He said the onus to develop a centre to monitor these tracking devices will have to be set up by the state government.
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