BEST says 80% of its red buses will only operate on shorter distances

BEST says 80% of its red buses will only operate on shorter distances

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has announced that around 80 per cent of its red buses will only run on short distances of up to 5kms. This move was taken as the authorities mentioned that a large number of buses are currently conductorless, with data suggesting that there are currently around 212 conductorless non-AC buses in BEST’s fleet. 

BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade said “We run buses on 38 AC and 44 non-AC short-distance routes,” while adding that BEST has added 2 new AC bus routes that will run between 6 AM to 10 PM. 

Also Read: BEST Adds Two More Mini AC Buses To Its Fleet

Speaking on some of the buses in its fleet not having a proper rear window enclosure, BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said - “It was temporary. The doors are now being locked/covered and will be opened only in an emergency.” He said that officials had used ropes and sticks to cover the rear doors of some non-AC conductorless buses.

It’s worth mentioning that BEST’s fleet now has a record 500 conductorless buses. Bagde also said that 100 new AC minibuses will be added to the city’s routes within a week.

However, not everybody is happy with this decision. “We will protest on the streets, if need be. It is a serious threat to the workforce, where many conductors feel insecure,” said a senior member of the BEST Workers' Union. 

For some context, the Mumbai Industrial Court passed an order last week approving BEST’s conductorless buses. “Our union will strongly protest against conductorless buses as it is a threat to the workforce. Also, BEST should be maintaining a mandatory fleet of 3,337 buses [owned by it] as per the MoU signed with several unions and it should be recruiting new conductors,” union leader Shashank Rao had said at the time. 

There was earlier a proposal to have conductors 400 bus conductors on a contract basis from a "manpower service provider", but this proposal too had been shot down. 

What needs to be seen is that through all these means will the BEST be able to turn around its operations, attract more riders and become profitable. 

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