Two years after the idea was floated, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Devel-opment Authority (MMRDA) has invited a Request for Proposal (RfP) for purchase and maintenance of fully-built air-conditioned hybrid electric buses to enhance connectivity between the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and the Kurla, Bandra and Sion stations at the earliest.
An MMRDA official said, “We want office-goers travelling to BKC from Bandra, Kurla and Sion to have better commuting facilities, so we invited the RfP from eligible and reputed national and international bus producers with manufacturing facilities in India (as per guidelines of Department of Heavy Industries, GoI) for purchase and maintenance of 25 fully built air-conditioned hybrid buses of various models for the BKC for 10 years.”
Representationl picture of a hybrid bus
Sources told mid-day that last year the MMRDA had written to Tata Motors and Volvo, exhibiting interest in purchasing buses to start the dedicated services. But, since the communication failed to take off, the MMRDA decided to invite the RfP. The MMRDA even tried to rope in BEST, but a cold-shoulder by the undertaking stalled the project.
mid-day had reported about BEST’s refusal to be part of MMRDA’s plan (BEST shoots down MMRDA’s plan to operate electric buses, August 23, 2013) stating that it could neither provide or operate hybrid electric buses due to lack of infrastructure to maintain them.
The MMRDA decided to have dedicated services to BKC from Bandra, Kurla and Sion after it received a number of complaints from office-goers about poor connectivity and highhandedness of the auto drivers, who either refuse to ply by meter or charge exorbitant rates despite operating on a share-basis.
Those travelling to BKC by bus complained that they had to walk almost a kilometre to reach the nearest bus stop, as their offices were located far away from the main road. This gave rise to the demand for starting shuttle services, which grew louder with each passing day.
In September 2014, mid-day had done a series of reports focusing on the plight of office-goers in the absence of efficient public transport at BKC. Following these reports, the planning authority had decided to start AC buses and had invited Expression of Interest (EoI) applications from companies for the project.
In 2012, MMRDA had planned to provide 15-20 low-floor buses to the BEST to enhance connectivity from BKC. It was prepared to pay for the entire cost of the operation — around R4 crore to R6 crore — and was also going to ensure that the ticket prices would be lesser than the usual BEST fares. The project, however, never saw the light of day.