In a bid to strengthen the connectivity of the island city with the suburbs and corridors linking eastern-western suburbs by road; the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) will bring average bus frequency down to 10-15 minutes from 20-25 minutes.
The Undertaking were under fire for curtailing the bus routes from 484 to 419 starting September 1. However, the authorities claim that primarily, they aim to improve the frequency of buses plying on these routes rather than having more bus routes but dismal bus frequency.
The BEST has changed their strategy in bus operations based on a recent study done to gauge travel patterns of over 25 lakh Mumbaikars using their bus services.
According to BEST officials, a passenger on an average travels 7 kms and as per the study on distribution of trips, 60.43 per cent of passengers travel up to 5 kms, 20.58 percent travel up to 10 kms and 9.65 percent of them commute up to 15 kms which covers majority of bus routes and caters to almost 91 percent of passengers.
Travel patterns also show that north-south travel converge at 9 changeover points namely Dadar, Worli, Bandra, Dharavi, Sion, Shivaji Park etc. have become hubs and need more bus services as they connects the island city and suburbs. Another vital corridor where there is a large number of passenger movement is the east-west corridor. The BEST is also increasing the bus frequency on routes that will go via the link roads, eastern and western expressways, connecting the eastern and western suburbs.
"We want to provide reliable and efficient bus services having a frequency of 10-15 minutes," said Lokesh Chandra, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.
The authorities also found that in the past when they were operating long several journey routes moving 15-20 kms and more; the frequency of buses would be up to 30 minutes and so there was a lot of crowding seen at bus stops. To address this issue, the BEST has clubbed the routes and more buses are being run on the corridors so as to cater to more passengers. At present, the BEST is running 3358 buses and intends to add more buses in the future to improve bus frequency. They will also start feeder routes outside railway stations and even metro stations when the two new Metro rail lines on Charkop-Dahisar-Aarey (phase-1) of Metro-7 and Metro-2A become operational.