BEST AC buses go off roads from April 17

Committee is yet to give its nod, but administration pulls all buses off the roads

The AC buses have a poor record of 18,000 passengers per day, causing operational losses to the tune of R200 crore annually. Pic/ Sayyed Sameer AbediThe AC buses have a poor record of 18,000 passengers per day, causing operational losses to the tune of R200 crore annually. Pic/ Sayyed Sameer Abedi

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) has stopped running its 266 AC buses from today, even though permission to do so is yet to come from the BEST Committee. As per process, the administration has to moot an idea to this committee (it comprises members representing various political parties), which then passes or disposes of their proposal.

At the BEST Committee meeting that will be held today, the members will discuss three proposals, namely the scrapping of AC buses and routes, curtailing bus routes of non-AC buses, bringing in new buses on wet-lease model and rationalising manpower cost. But, sources said there is a chance the meeting could be postponed.

"Nevertheless, we have decided to curtail operations of AC bus services from today, which shall go ahead as per plan," said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.

The administration states that they are not waiting for the proposal to be passed, which they think will happen in any case. The Undertaking suffers annual operational losses of R200 crore from these buses and also spends R82 crore on maintenance. These AC buses have a poor record of a meagre 18,000 passengers a day. BEST has already started converting these AC buses into non-AC ones. BEST is also likely to scrap or shorten routes of 150 plus loss-making buses.

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