BEST may soon roll out short-route mini buses for narrow roads

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Mumbaikars may soon be able to commute in mini buses in narrow internal roads across the city. A proposal to introduce these buses through BEST will be tabled in the next Group of Leaders meeting at the BMC next week.

Lower fuel consumption as compared to standard size buses, and congestion on narrower roads, are being cited as some of the main reasons to introduce the proposal.

Some of the areas where short route mini buses are likely to ply initially are Madanpura and Nagpada. As most of the internal roads across the city have become congested, making it unfeasible for BEST to run long buses, Raees Shaikh, Samajwadi corporator and member of a group of leaders, wrote to the Mayor and sought the start of 20-seater mini bus services in internal roads for short routes.

BEST stopped its short-route services, citing low passenger footfall and high cost of running the service.

Shaikh said that instead of increasing its efficiency, the transport undertaking stopped short routes altogether. “Mini buses have a low running cost and can navigate bettter through internal congested roads,” said Shaikh. He added that mini buses that can ply on short routes, should be the preferred choice among commuters.

According to sources, a tender to procure mini buses has already also been floated and they will likely be introduced on short routes.

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