BEST bus to implement minimum fare Rs 5 from Tuesday

Updated: Jul 08, 2019, 23:23 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

Maharashtra transport minister Diwakar Raote said that the relevant notification had been issued and sent to the BEST Undertaking

BEST bus to implement minimum fare Rs 5 from Tuesday
File pic

The Maharashtra government on Monday approved the BEST's proposal of minimum bus fare at Rs 5. The BEST may implement the fare cut from Tuesday itself. The far-reaching decision of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) will bring in a sea-change in the way Mumbai's public transport will run.

Maharashtra transport minister Diwakar Raote said that the relevant notification had been issued and sent to the BEST Undertaking.

BEST chief spokesperson Hanumant Gophane confirmed to Mid-Day that the decision will be implemented from Tuesday.

As per the new structure, the Undertaking has revised the base fare at Rs 5 for first 5 km, Rs 10 for 10 km and Rs 15 for 15 km. For AC buses, the fares will range between Rs 6 and Rs 25.

After the BEST cleared the proposal on June 25, it was cleared by the BMC on June 27 and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority cleared it a week later.

The lowering of fares, (now a rupee per km) and the rise in the fleet will revolutionize public transport scenario in the city with a minimum fare of Rs 5, lower than any share-auto or share-taxi can afford to.

The city will soon see a fleet of 80 new electric buses from the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking. General Manager Surendra Bagade on Monday said the procurement will be done under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles scheme of the Department of Heavy Industries.

The scheme was started to provide an impetus to vehicles running on alternative fuel. He said the court had given them a go-ahead to the scheme as there had been opposition from the trade union. The Phase-II proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and their market creation and demand aggregation.

Elaborating this, BEST officials said the existing fleet of BEST has E-Buzz K7 electric buses that can cover up to 200 km in a single charge with speeds up to 70 kmph. The buses can carry up to 31 passengers. These buses run on fire-proof lithium iron phosphate batteries, which entail no charging cost. These e-buses have low operating cost running at around Rs 8-9 per km, against Rs 15/km for CNG buses and Rs 20/km for diesel buses.

Speaking on suggestions given by committee member Sunil Ganacharya of categorizing the expenses so that salary could be prioritized and not delayed every month, Bagade said he will review the prioritisation of the expenses so that salaries are disbursed on time.

The committee also discussed the need to improve the functioning of the public relations department by wider use of social media and effectively handle media queries.

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