Utilities from Navi Mumbai,Kalyan-Dombivli and Thane give BEST a run for its money
With the state government relaxing norms to ply buses in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR),various municipal transport units are vying among themselves to launch inter-city services in the region.
Last week,BEST increased its services to Thane,Mira-Bhayander and Navi Mumbai and now,other municipal transport units are putting up tough competition.
The Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) has started its services to Kalyan and Mumbai. NMMT had been operating till Mulund due to stiff opposition from BEST. But now,we are going up to Ghatkopar,Bandra and Dadar, said NMMT chairman Shashi Damodaran. The buses plying to Mumbai would run on CNG.
Even the Mira-Bhayander and Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Transport (KDMT) have plans to start new routes by roping in private players. We are done with the proposal of starting services to Thane and Borivali. But we have not been able to take any decision due to the model code of conduct, said Balaji Khatgoankar,general manager Mira Bhayander Municipal Transport (MBMT).
The Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) is yet to start new services. We are expecting some 200 buses in the next five months. But we plan to strengthen our services in the city first, said Arun Dixit,deputy general manager,TMT.
It is survival of the fittest, state transport secretary C S Sangitrao had said after the policy was formulated over a month ago. The transport units now have to give better services as there is competition. Plus,they may slash fares which would encourage competition.
It would prove to be advantageous for commuters as they would have more options, added Sangitrao. Commuters would also have better connectivity.
But more importantly,it has put an end to the disputes between transport units over the permission to ply buses. It has also put an end to the monopoly of bigger transport units like BEST which earlier refused permission to others to ply in Mumbai.
State government officials feel that the MMR requires some 3,000 more buses for giving better services to commuters.
Last year,the state government had come up with the proposal of unifying all the municipal transport units in MMR. But the move was opposed by almost all the transport units,as each unit was an important source of revenue for the political parties controlling the respective municipal bodies.
New inter-city services
BEST:New service to Thane,Navi Mumbai and Mira Bhayander
MBMT:proposal of starting services to Mumbai (Borivali),Thane,Vasai,VirarM
KDMT:Navi Mumbai (Vashi) proposal of starting from Kalyan station to Mulund Check naka
NMMT:Mumbai (now to Ghatkopar,Bandra,Dadar)