The BEST on Wednesday submitted its budget for 2023-24 to the civic corporation, projecting a reduction in losses by Rs 250 crore in the transport division and a profit of Rs 120 crore in the electricity supply division but no hike in bus fares till March 2024. The budget showed an overall deficit of Rs 2,000 crore, the estimated gap between revenue and expenses.
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) will not hike bus fares till March 2024 in Mumbai, stated the copy of its budget for 2023-24. The budget copy submitted to the civic corporation also projected a decrease in losses by Rs 250 crore in the transport division. The budget draft submitted to the civic commissioner, I S Chahal, also mentioned an overall deficit of Rs 2,000 crore.
The public body also shared a proposal to commence “water taxis" along the eastern waterfront as it is currently in negotiations with the Mumbai Port Trust and the Maharashtra Maritime board. “We are looking at the viability of this newly proposed project, which is mentioned in our budget and will explore the possibility of running our own BEST water taxis across the coastline in the next financial year," said Lokesh Chandra, BEST general manager.
According to Chandra, BEST will also start electric cabs in Mumbai and the tender process for the same has been initiated for firms that can deliver e-cabs along with drivers. The bus passengers can book these cabs, flaunting the BEST logo, through the Chalo app. Furthermore, the bus fleet will be doubled to 7000 units by March 2024 which will also include 900 electric double decker buses with two staircases. There will be premium buses as well with all the luxurious facilities.
All the buses will be digital by March 2024 with a device installed at the entry and exit point to tap in and tap out. People will also be able to use mobile as well as smart cards to travel on these buses. Though the conventional paper ticket system with conductors issuing them will continue, passengers will be encouraged to avail digital facilities. The budget further adds an increase of ladies special buses from 133 to 500 of which 50 will boast an open deck with the lower deck air-conditioned.
The BEST budget also states installation of 330 charging stations by 2023-24 for the public to charge electric vehicles. “We are working on e-mobility as a solution for Mumbai’s public transport and are encouraging e-scooters - with tie ups with private companies - so that there is last mile connect for passengers who can alight from buses and take e-two wheelers up to their final destination," an official said.
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