Mumbai, 13th January 2023: On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a double-decker air-conditioned bus running on electricity was to enter the fleet of the BEST initiative. However, there are signs that this initiative will not be achieved. Officials of the BEST initiative say that this bus is still undergoing trials and will enter passenger service in the first week of February.
At present, the BEST initiative has 45 non-air-conditioned double-decker buses. A single-decker bus can carry 54 to 60 passengers. The total passenger capacity of the double-decker bus is 76. The initiative has decided to introduce double-decker air-conditioned buses with higher passenger carrying capacity into the service of passengers in a phased manner, and 900 such buses will be taken on lease. The first of these double-decker buses were flagged off in August 2022 by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari.
After that, the testing of this bus started at the Automotive Research Association of India Center (ARAI) in Pune. It was claimed that after the test, the bus would get the certificate and then the bus would be put into passenger service first in September and then in October. However, double-decker buses have not come to the service of passengers. But both these moments were missed. After that, the date of 14th January was fixed. But the test of this bus is still going on. Therefore, there are signs that this Muhurta will also be avoided.
A double-decker air-conditioned bus is being tested at ‘ARAI’ in Pune, and as soon as the bus gets the certificate, it will enter the service of Mumbaikars. Lokesh Chandra, General Manager of BEST, said that five such double-decker buses are likely to enter service in the first week of February. In a press conference held on 2nd December 2022, officials of the BEST initiative said that 50 double-decker air-conditioned buses would arrive by 14th January 2023. A total of 900 air-conditioned buses will be inducted into the fleet of BEST. It was also explained that BEST plans to open-deck buses by removing the roof of some double-decker buses running on electricity entering the fleet.
Double-decker air-conditioned bus features –
The seating capacity of the bus is 66, and 10 passengers can travel standing.
CCTV cameras and special arrangements to allow two conductors on the bus to communicate with each other.
Double-decker air-conditioned bus with automatic doors on both sides and the control of opening them to the bus driver.