In the face of rapidly falling commuter numbers in the last few months, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) is undertaking repair of the purple AC Cerita buses. Tenders have already been sought for 400 blowers to propel cool air from the ACs fitted within.

“These blowers will cater to 200 old AC buses that have been plying since 2007,” said a BEST official. Each blower will be replaced at an estimated cost of R3,000, making the total cost go up to Rs 12 lakh.

Out of BEST’s 282 AC buses, two burned down due to engine failure and 20 were scrapped due to technical snags, leaving 260 buses for plying. On an average, 124 buses ply the roads every day. While not all officials at BEST are happy with the situation, most agree that a key reason for skewed figures of bus operations is the AC performance. There have been reports in the past about a possible move to scrap AC buses altogether.

Officials say the regular red buses face the same fate, with almost 650 buses lying idle in depots. The average life span of a BEST bus body is five to seven years.