If all goes well, then soon you will be able to withdraw cash at the nearest BEST bus shelter. It has been learnt that the BEST undertaking is now planning to construct 40 new air-conditioned bus shelters for its AC buses that would be equipped with ATMs, benefiting commuters to withdraw money as per their convenience.
A private company, Fast Track, will construct these first-of-its-kind bus shelters, in the country. The firm would be responsible for maintenance of these shelters. In addition, it would be paying the undertaking Rs 7,000 per year in lieu of ad space atop these shelters. Harbhajan Singh Sehgal, CEO, Fast Track, said, “At present, the empowerment committee is reviewing the proposal and once approved, we will finish the work in two months. To rule out the chances of theft, a security guard will be deployed 24x7 at these shelters.”
While the minimum holding capacity of these shelters will be 12 people each, during rush hour, they can accommodate commuters beyond their original holding capacity. Dilip Patel, BEST committee member, said, “This is a good proposal, as it will encourage more people to commute via BEST buses. The weather of Mumbai is such that AC bus shelters are a must. These shelters will not only protect travellers from the harsh sun, but also from rain and cold.”
Out of the 40 bus shelters, maximum will be constructed in the city. The remaining ones will be constructed along the Western and Eastern Express Highways. “We are identifying locations for construction these bus shelters,” said Patel. Though the BEST undertaking and its committee members are be upbeat about the proposal, commuters have a different point of view.
Reema Raman, a resident of Parel, said, “It’s a good idea, but maintaining these shelters will be a great responsibility, which I doubt the BEST will live up to. This kind of enthusiasm was exhibited when they introduced KingLong buses. There were talks about introducing the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) lane as well. But the enthusiasm fizzled out within days.” Ashok Rawat said, “This will never work. Only a handful of people commute via AC buses.”