As many as 14 nodal points across the city and suburbs will be hubs for the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses. The BEST undertaking has rationalised these routes on something called as the ‘Hub and Spoke model’, which involves creating intersecting points where bus routes will merge. In order to make this a success, the BEST needs 4,852 buses. Currently, they have 3,242 buses allotted for the same.
This is important for the efficient operation of buses, especially when the transport body is looking to reduce its bus frequency to 10-15 minutes on an average from the earlier 20-25 minutes. According to officials, the Hub and Spoke model has enabled them to create a route schedule in a way that people get buses to all corridors at regular intervals, even though the total routes are less.
There are five nodal points--Colaba, Backbay, Worli, Mahim and Dadar--in the island city; five points in the western suburbs--Santacruz, Goregaon, Dindoshi, Dahisar and Bandra; and four points on the eastern line covering Sion, Mulund, Anushakti Nagar and Ghatkopar.
“These nodal points will act as areas where buses from various part of the city will converge and passengers can avail the opportunity to travel to any part of Mumbai from here,” said an official.
The authorities have further divided their bus operation into five broad corridors. These include the main corridor wherein 406 buses are needed and currently they are falling short of 39 buses. The sub-corridor which needs 298 buses but only 176 are running currently. Similarly, on the east-west corridor, there are 1,378 buses but it needs 2,223. This is an important corridor as it intersects the suburbs, which is not connected by the trains.
The BEST has also identified a rail-feeder corridor, for which they have allotted 1,321 buses though they require 1,654. These buses mainly operate during peak hours and connect the railway stations, residential areas, commercial and office complexes. Also, arrangements have been made for a Metro feeder for which they require 271 buses once the two new lines of Metro 2A and 7 are operational in December or January next year.
The BEST claims they are working on adding new buses to their fleet. As many as 487 CNG buses are expected to be added to their fleet by December, while they will procure 1,900 air-conditioned e-buses by March 2023.