Mumbai: 100 BEST buses need a body job

The buses have major defects like the body chassis shaking and corroded roofs; these belong to the lot of 644 buses that were bought under MUTP (Phase I) in 2005-06

Even as the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) is struggling to get passengers into its buses, there is more bad news waiting for it. A good 100 of the buses belonging to BEST’s fleet require major body repairs.

A BEST bus being towed away after a breakdown. Will this become a common sight? File pic
A BEST bus being towed away after a breakdown. Will this become a common sight? File pic

These single-decker buses were bought under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-I) in 2005-06. Sources said that the defects include body chassis shaking, cracks in the roof panel, corroded roofs that cause leakage during the monsoon, and issues with flooring.

“These buses require heavy repair work and most likely would be kept out of service until the time they are repaired,” said a BEST official on condition of anonymity. The BEST Undertaking had bought 644 buses that were financed by the World Bank.

The officials said that the World Bank had approved the bus body that is of mild steel, and under present conditions, these buses would require major repairs. “This is the first time that the buses procured under MUTP are being repaired and this would be done at a cost of R3.25 crore,” said another BEST official.

The officials explained that the bus body fabricated with mild steel gets corroded due to the humid weather in the city. Usually, BEST used to get bus bodies fabricated in aluminium. However, in 2005-06, when the Undertaking procured 644 buses under the World Bank-funded MUTP, these were built with mild steel.

With such buses on the road, it will make travelling more dangerous. The number of daily passengers had gone down to 27 lakh earlier this July-August, which used to be nearly 40 lakh daily passengers earlier.

BEST says
“These are old buses and they need repairs. The administration should take efforts for improving the maintenance process,” said Ravi Raja, member, BEST Committee. The buses will get repaired (on an average of 10 buses per month) and will be kept at Dadar central workshop. From here the private bus body repairer will collect these buses.

The BEST Undertaking is already in process of replacing 200 buses, which have become old over a period of 2 years. Against that it is getting 50 low-floor air-conditioned buses and another 330 normal ones in the months to come.

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