The buses ply between Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Sion, Kurla, Borivali and Kharghar, among other places.
Mumbai: The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is considering reducing the fares of hybrid buses in a bid to revive the dwindling ridership of the buses.
The buses ply between Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Sion, Kurla, Borivali and Kharghar, among other places. According to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) officials, the passenger count has dropped over the time; this has resulted in monthly losses to the entity. The Asian Age had reported in its November 13 edition that the AC buses have been incurring a loss of Rs 1 crore per month.
“We are planning to cut down the fares of hybrid buses since people are reluctant to pay Rs 21 for short distances. Low fares will attract more passengers and hence can cover up losses in the future,” said a senior official from MMRDA. He added, “A meeting will be conducted with the BEST next week and a decision will be taken about the fares.” Senior MMRDA officials are also of the view that the BEST undertaking is not running hybrid buses efficiently. “BEST has overstaffed employees for the operations of the buses. There are three drivers deputed against one bus,” said the official.
When contacted, Surendra Bagde, general manager, BEST, said, “The MMRDA has not communicated to us about the fare changes till now, but the idea can be adopted in order to increase ridership.”
Meanwhile, the BEST has also asked MMRDA to cough up pending operation costs of Rs 8 crore immediately. “According to the agreement signed between both of us, we are liable to pay up for the operational cost. Hence we will soon clear the dues,” added the official. “We have succeeded in providing services to and from BKC but there are some losses which we have asked the MMRDA to compensate,” said Mr Bagde.
The 25 hybrid buses procured by the MMRDA were launched in March this year, each costing Rs 1.65 crore.