Uber could help you book a seat on BEST
Company has approached the undertaking and BMC for a tie-up; bus stops could also be commercialised as part of the plan to overhaul the public transport
If things go according to plan, you could book a seat on a BEST bus route, through Uber. As BEST is going in for a complete overhaul, Uber has approached it to help give it an online presence. This is also expected to get citizens to use public transport, besides raising profits through advertisements that will come on a BEST application. The new municipal commissioner also seems to be interested in commercialising bus depots, a plan that had been put on ice for a very long time.
The BEST will have an application which will show details of buses scheduled to arrive at bus stops. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has signed an MoU with the BEST, wherein it will pay R100 crore every month for a year to the undertaking, and has asked it to utilise the funds for the overhaul. BEST is currently reeling under a loss of Rs 2,500 crore.
Book a seat on BEST
Sources said that Uber would take its cut, and pre-booking rates might be a little costlier than buying a ticket on the bus. However, the plan is at a premature stage and once the operating system between the companies is worked out, there will be clarity about the rates, said officials.
Meanwhile, a fare cut is in the pipeline to make public transport more attractive, and the revenue loss from the fare cut is likely to be recovered through vertical growth of the bus depots and commercialisation. Even the digital systems are expected to help BEST add revenue, such as through selling space for advertisements on its app. And in a move in this direction, BEST has initiated the procurement of 450 new AC buses on wet-lease. Another 3,000 are expected.
BMC chief Praveen Pardeshi said, "Public transport is the need of the hour and BEST needs this kind of push to attract more citizens. Uber, too, has approached us to provide citizens pre-booking of seats through it, and we will also give real-time updates as well, through our app. With the inclusion of AC buses, we are positive that the BEST will soon become the choice of citizens." Uber officials could not be reached for comment.
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