BEST to charge Rs. 5 for journey till 5 km
In a recent meeting with Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), Mumbai's civic administration, BMC, has suggested reducing the minimum fare to Rs. 5 for upto 5 km. As per reports, authorities are hopeful in retaining the lost passengers via this move. Currently, the minimum fare charged by the undertaking is Rs. 8, Rs. 10 and Rs. 14 for 2km, 4km and 6km respectively.
The Chairman of BEST committee, Anil Patankar, is positive that a dip in the fares would attract more people to use the BEST buses. "We had discussed reducing the fares if the bus fleet is increased by wet-lease. We intend to retain the number of daily passengers to at least 40 lakh, which now has come down to 22-25 lakh," he said.
The authorities are also working on a two-fare model. Meanwhile, public and experts are happy with the proposal. Vivek Pai, a transport and urban planner, called it a "welcome step". However, he believes that proper route planning is required to increase ridership. Transport experts also believe that the impact of this move will be a breather for the city's traffic congestion.
As per a recent report, the traffic in India's financial capital was recorded to be the worst among the world's 56 countries. It suggested that a journey in Mumbai takes 65% longer during the peak hours. This March, Maharashtra's transport department reported that Mumbai has become the most car-congested city in India with a density of 510 private cars for every kilometer of road.
Meanwhile, the authorities are also analyzing if Rs. 100cr worth of grant from the municipal corporation will substitute the losses after fare reduction. Reportedly, 450 buses will be deployed for the commuters travelling to and fro various stations. BEST is also targeting to increase the number of buses to 6,000 this year and subsequently to 10,000.