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MMRDA to operate AC bus services in Bandra-Kurla Complex

After mid-day’s series highlighted the dire need for public transport at Bandra-Kurla Complex, MMRDA has invited Expression of Interest applications to ply AC buses connecting to Sion, Bandra and Kurla

Taking serious note about the series of reports published in mid-day in which many commuters to the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) had complained about the poor connectivity and lack of public transport in the business district, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Develo-pment Authority (MMRDA) has decided to start operating buses there and has invited Expression of Interest (EoI) applications from companies for the project.

Commuters had told mid-day that they have to wait for 30-60 minutes to get a bus to the nearest station, and that auto rickshaws and taxis fleece them regularly
Commuters had told mid-day that they have to wait for 30-60 minutes to get a bus to the nearest station, and that auto rickshaws and taxis fleece them regularly

The air-conditioned buses will connect BKC to Bandra, Sion and Kurla. mid-day had reported on August 9 (‘BKC needs more public transport) about the dire need for better connectivity by rail and road, to the BKC. Frequency of buses is poor, and autos and taxi drivers make hay while the sun shines for them by fleecing passengers.

mid-day’s August 9 report on the issue
mid-day’s August 9 report on the issue

MMRDA’s joint project director, Dilip Kawathkar, said, “We haven’t decided the number of buses, but we are talking to consultants on the issue. We know people coming to work at BKC face commuting problems and MMRDA will solve these at the earliest.” Kawathkar further added that MMRDA expects to start running the buses by the end of this year.

The agency will engage two types of buses – 25-seaters and 40-seaters; all vehicles will be electric and will have a ticket vending machine and also a conductor. Who will ply these buses is a decision that is yet to be taken. “As of now, we have not decided the agency (BEST, MSRTC, private firm) that will run these buses. But, the vehicles will be environment- friendly, as they are powered by batteries,” an MMRDA official said.

In 2012, MMRDA had planned to provide 15-20 low-floor buses to the BEST. It was prepared to pay the entire cost of the operation around Rs 4-6 crore and was also going to ensure the ticket prices would be lesser than BEST rates. However, the project is yet to see the light of the day.

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