BEST set to start 22-seat AC buses where you can book seats on an app

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - CITY - Somit.Sen@ times­

Mum­bai: BEST plans to in­tro­duce an ag­gre­ga­tor bus ser­vice where one can book a seat on an AC midibus through an app, much like one does for book­ing an Ola or Uber cab.

BEST has bud­geted Rs 25 crore for 50 such buses for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year. They will be shorter than BEST’s nor­mal red buses but longer than minibuses that op­er­ate in cities like Kolkata.

The buses are ex­pected to be run on short routes, par­tic­u­larly those start­ing from rail­way and Metro sta­tions. Each 22-seater bus will be fit­ted with AC units at BEST’s work­shops; this will cut the cost of each bus to Rs 50 lakh.

"We want com­muters to be as­sured of a bus’s ar­rival on time and a seat on it. Of­ten peo­ple opt for pri­vate cabs or taxis be­cause they are not sure when the next bus will ar­rive or be­cause they don’t want to travel stand­ing,” said BEST gen­eral man­ager Jagdish Patil.

Driv­ers of the buses will have a uni­form dif­fer­ent from the khaki worn by the driv­ers of reg­u­lar BEST buses. “Also, we will pro­vide free wi-fi, be­sides of­fer­ing wa­ter bot­tles and news­pa­pers,” said an of­fi­cial.

BEST will also be part of four SATIS (Sta­tion Area Traf­fic Im­prove­ment Scheme) projects in the is­land city and the sub­urbs. The BMC and BEST are con­duct­ing a fea­si­bil­ity study of SATIS with rail­way and traf­fic po­lice au­thor­i­ties at Kurla, Ban­dra and And­heri.

The SATIS project will be at busy sta­tions and will help in faster dis­per­sal of buses. The project seeks to seg­re­gate buses, au­tos and taxis at stands, min­i­mize con­ges­tion, and en­sure a smooth flow of traf­fic. A sim­i­lar project is func­tional out­side Thane rail­way sta­tion.

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