Taking note of the inconvenience caused to people going to BKC from Bandra, Kurla or Sion and vice versa, the planning authority decided to bear the full cost of the buses and will make sure the ticket rates are lower than what BEST today charges for the limited number of special buses it runs on the routes.
“We will be purchasing 15-20 buses, and these low-floor buses will be provided to BEST so that these can be used by people coming BKC,” MMRDA Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said.
The MMRDA will pay something between Rs 4 crore and Rs 6 crore towards the purchase of these buses.
MMRDA sources said a test run of buses of various sizes would take place today to see which ones were best suited for BKC.
“We will be bringing mini, medium and long low-floor buses to BKC on Saturday to finalise which buses are better to ply within BKC as well as between BKC and Bandra, Kurla and Sion,” an official, who did not wish to be named, said.
People going to the business district of BKC from Bandra and Kurla are faced with the problem of low frequency of BEST buses.
The situation worsens during peak hours as buses arrive at stops already full with people. Taking advantage of the situation, autorickshaws charge Rs 15 per seat to go to BKC from Bandra railway station, which is triple the Rs 5 ticket on a BEST bus on the route.
The BEST has already started two ring route buses, one from Bandra to BKC telephone exchange and the other from Kurla to MMRDA building. Buses on these special routes charge Rs 10 for the ticket, which many commuters feel is excessive.
People have been complaining for a few years now about the low BEST frequency from Bandra and Kurla to BKC despite the vast increase in the number of people going to BKC every day. They say rickshaw drivers who take passengers on a sharing basis to BKC make a killing because of the limited options for commuters.