Starting today, for the first time ever the state-owned buses of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) will be plying on the roads of Mumbai. Earlier this week, BEST undertaking had appealed to the MSRTC to have its buses on wet-lease in order to augment its fleet and cater to the high demand of passengers.
A conventional MSRTC bus has a seating capacity of 44 passengers. These buses will run as per their full seat occupancy as the state government has given their nod earlier last week. However, in order to maintain distancing policies standees will be curtailed. Meanwhile, BEST still awaits nod from the state government in order to ply their red buses to full-seat capacity.
These are some of the north-south bound long distance routes, which are recording a heavy ridership due to suspension of local trains.
“We have received 76 buses from the MSRTC. These buses will ply on high demand routes between the island city and the suburban belt," said BEST spokesperson, Manoj Varade. “Presently our focus is to ease the load on the buses and to meet the demand of passengers,” said a senior BEST official.
The MSRTC buses will run on five routes --- 4 Ltd (Hutatma Chowk-Oshiwara Depot), 7 Ltd (Backbay depot-Vikhroli), 8 Ltd (Mantralaya-Shivaji Nagar terminus), C-72 (Sion-Bhayander), 30 Ltd (Mumbai Central-Vikhroli).
The official also maintained, some of the buses were run in a trial manner on Thursday and full-fledged operation will start from Friday onwards. The official also confirmed, the routes will be expanded eventually as more MSRTC buses will be added in the fleet. “BEST has floated a proposal of 1,000 buses, eventually more buses will be procured which will be further expanded in more routes,” said the official.
The buses are being leased by BEST at a rate of Rs 75 per kilo metre and each MSRTC bus will be travelling around 120-150 kilometres per day.
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