Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport will penalise Tata Motors for its two-month delay in delivering 300 buses worth nearly Rs 120 crore.
The buses were to be delivered in January but so far, only 35 buses have been delivered, said BEST sources. However, BEST is yet to decide on the quantum of penalty to be imposed on Tata Motors, which is one of the undertaking’s key suppliers.
The cost per bus was around Rs 40 lakh and BEST, which maintains a fleet of 3,700 buses on an average, was awaiting delivery of the 300 buses in order to run its services.
One of the fallouts of the delay in delivery has been that the waiting period at bus stops has increased from 15 minutes to 20 to 25 minutes on an average. This is even more during peak morning and evening hours when traffic is at its densest.
An official said, “Currently, the waiting period has gone a little higher at bus stops and it is already tough for us to keep commuters from taking auto-rickshaws or share-a-taxis which cost nearly the same but are more popular because of last-mile connectivity.”
Commuters like Anita Relan a resident of Andheri, said, “I usually catch a bus from Andheri station to my home at Seven Bungalows. Given the traffic at Andheri, it makes more economical sense to catch the bus as it takes the same time as an auto-rickshaw.”
BEST general manager Jagdish Patil told The Asian Age, “Yes, we will be levying a penalty on them like we do on anyone who fails to abide by the contract. We are still calculating the exact penalty but it will soon be communicated to them officially.”
Once upon a time, BEST had a fleet of 4,700 buses but with growing competition and decreasing popularity, the fleet has been reduced by a thousand buses.