AC buses for BKC commuters?
The state government plans to start point-to-point AC buses connecting Bandra Kurla Complex to Oshiwara and Charkop; naysayers say it won't work as commuters will need to take autos to bus stop
The state government has decided to run point-to-point air-conditioned bus services on two routes on the western suburbs, from July end.
As per the latest plan drawn by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU), two routes, one from Oshiwara to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and the other from Charkop to BKC have been identified for these point-to-point bus services.
The idea is to pick up people from Oshiwara and Charkop from common pick-up points and drop them at BKC via the Western Express Highway (WEH). “Our survey showed that many people come to BKC from these areas,” said a transport planner, on condition of anonymity.
The authorities are expecting the services to help reduce congestion on the city’s roads by keeping atleast 2,000 cars off this route. According to them, at least 10 out of the total number of passengers travelling in an AC bus own and drive a car. They are also meeting several company heads at BKC, to ask their employees to utilise this mode of transport. There are over 280 AC buses in Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) fleet, of which planners hope to use a sizeable number for the purpose of these services. The BEST is incurring losses to the tune of around Rs 75 crore by running the Kinglong AC bus services.
The government is planning ways to make it lucrative for people to actually use this service. “We are now looking at ways to promote this point-to-point service,” said Sulakshna Mahajan, urban planner, MTSU.
Sources, however, counter that people will not use the services as they will have to take a rickshaw to reach the bus stop.
“We are studying the possibility of ‘last mile’ connectivity to people so that there is minimum inconvenience,” said VN More, transport commissioner. This implies that bus stops may be set up very close to residential complexes in the area.
Plans are also afoot to get people from the eastern suburbs
to use the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and other business hubs in Parel and south Mumbai.