With the Thane Municipal Transport beginning its high-end air-conditioned buses between Thane and Borivli to rival the existing AC services of the BEST, a full-fledged public transport war has begun to woo passengers on the route.
Both the undertakings are running high-end buses on the route. While the BEST is running the Chinese Kinglong buses, the TMT has introduced Tata Marco Polo buses on the route. While the BEST fare is Rs50 for a single trip, the TMT fare is Rs40.
The happiest, in this fight, are the commuters. “More the buses, more the frequency. We can get in the bus which comes early and the wait at the stop will definitely get shorter,” Ajay Shukla, a Borivli resident said.
Transport experts said that both the buses are equal in quality and offer similar facilities. While the BEST had bought Kinglong buses for its proposed bus lanes’ project, the TMT has procured the buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission programme.
“Regular and sustained frequency is the key to wooing commuters,” a senior TMT official said. No official spoke on record about the competition.
“We have introduced the bus on this route as we found that there is heavy passenger demand here,” he added, requesting anonymity.
The state transport too runs buses on this route. “They have two types of buses. One is point-to-point and the other halts at all stops,” an MSRTC depot official said.
The BEST has been running buses on the route for nearly a year. BEST officials too refused to say that there was any competition, just said, “Our pass holders will not go anywhere.”