Mumbai will get 900 electric double-decker buses, with the iconic red buses making a comeback to the city’s roads.
“The BEST double-decker, now electric! CM Uddhav Thackeray and I have been personally keen on reviving Mumbai’s iconic double-decker buses,” Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted on Thursday, sharing an image of the fully electric, red double-decker bus.
He said the aim is to ultimately get 10,000 electric or clean, alternate fuel buses for Mumbai.
“As we increase our BEST fleet, ultimately to 10,000 electric/clean alternate fuel buses, our aim is to have maximum double-decker buses, as this increases our capacity.”
Mumbai’s transport body is acquiring 900 air conditioned double-decker buses on wet lease, an official said on Tuesday. Wet leases are ones in which the buses are owned by private contractors, who also appoint their drivers as well as take care of maintenance and insurance.
The 900 double-decker buses will hired for 12 years at a rate of Rs. 56.60 per kilometre. At present, BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) has a fleet of 3,377 buses, including 48 double-decker ones, most of which have completed their codal life, 1,524 on wet lease and 386 electric buses.
Double-decker buses were introduced in Mumbai in 1937. BEST had a fleet of 141 such buses in 1947-1948, which grew to 882 by 1993.Thackeray tweeted he has also requested municipal commissioners of other cities who are procuring electric buses to also add double-decker electric buses into their fleets on busy routes. He told reporters that double-decker buses will be introduced in Aurangabad city to boost tourism and make travel cost-effective.