HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Established in 1905, BEST (then Bombay Electricity Supply and Tramways, today Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) ran its first bus service in 1926. Services were initially limited to south Mumbai, but expanded in 1934. So great was the demand that BEST launched a double-decker bus service soon after. It also began producing electricity in 1905 and became a public supplier in 1921. It continued till 1926, when the Tata Electric Company began supplying it. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation took over BEST in 1947.
As BEST’s power is locally sourced, Mumbai remains online even if the national grid fails. BEST has also played a vital role in providing transport during emergencies. Its service remains operational even when the city is flooded by the monsoons. Its buses have also reduced the burden on the city’s local railway.
With a debt of Rs 1,175 crore, BEST is in the throes of a financial crisis. Its 42,000 employees are upset with its failure to release salaries on time. Committee chairman Anil Kokil says dealing with the deficit is his top priority. “I have also taken up the issue of delayed salaries seriously. We are working to find a solution,” he says.
BEST OF TIMES BEST plies both double and single decker busses