South Mumbai gets an all-electric BEST bus fleet

In a major eco-friendly initiative, the entire fleet of the iconic red BEST fleet of public buses catering to South Mumbai has gone electric with the launch of 24 new e-buses on Saturday.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday afternoon flagged off the new electric buses, taking the total BEST fleet of such e-buses to 270.

From next week, South Mumbai will be entirely served the e-buses and another 140 buses shall join the fleet by the month-end, said state Tourism Minister Aditya Thackeray.

The sleek, 12-metre-long e-buses under the FAME-II Project are airconditioned, noise-free and zero-pollution vehicles with a capacity of 35 passengers each, said Aditya Thackeray.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister announced that the government is planning to issue a BEST single-pass or ticket, which will be valid even on suburban trains and Metro rails for hassle-free commute for the citizens.

Besides the Chief Minister and Aditya Thackeray, Mayor Kishori Pednekar, Deputy Mayor Suhas Wadkar, BEST General Manager Lokesh Chandra, BEST Committee Chairan Ashish Chemburkar, Additional Municipal Commissioner P. Velarasu, along with legislators and municipal corporators were present on the occasion.

Chandra informed that under the new EV policy, the number of e-vehicles in the BEST fleet would increase by 15 per cent, and the BMC has set a target of inducting 1,800 (45 per cent of total fleet) e-buses by mid-2023.

The development came on the 74th foundation day celebrations of the BrihanMumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST), which came under the control of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on August 7, 1947.

Its forerunner, the Bombay Electric Supply & Tramways, was launched 148 years ago in 1873 and later it became Bombay Electric Supply & Transport and then the existing BEST, serving commuters of Mumbai and parts of Thane and Raigad.