Regional News

BEST plans for AC buses, app, smart card by year-end

By the end of 2019, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will have more air-conditioned (AC) buses in its fleet, an app to alert passengers on the expected arrival time and a smart card that can be used for other modes of transport.

BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde made the announcement while addressing a press conference ahead of BEST’s foundation day on August 7.

Bagde said they have already started testing of the app that has been developed as part of their Intelligent Transport Management System (ITMS). “Automated dispatch of buses has started at all depots. The work at all traffic chowkies is done online. All buses have been fitted with GPS to track their location and speed,” said Bagde, hinting at the launch of the app in a month or two.

Bagde said they will undertake a pilot project for ‘One Nation One Card’, which can be used for buying tickets on other modes of public transport, along with other uses such as shopping. “We will start the pilot on a few routes initially and take a call of expanding it,” he said, adding BEST is working with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) to develop an automatic fare collection system and Bharat Electricals Limited to develop the Electronic Ticket Issuing Machines (ETIM).

The general manager said they will acquire 1,650 new air-conditioned (AC) buses, including 400 AC buses, for which they have got a nod from the BEST panel. He said the undertaking has invited tenders for the remaining 1,250 buses, which will include 500 AC midi buses, 500 AC mini buses, and 250 AC midi electric buses. These buses will be taken on a wet lease model, in which the private operator will take care of the driver and maintenance of the buses.

Currently, BEST has a fleet of around 3,200 buses and is the second-biggest mode of transport that ferries nearly 30 lakh passengers.

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