Eager to increase usage of its air-conditioned buses, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking is now aiming at attracting tourists to its over 270-odd AC buses.
From August 7, BEST's anniversary day, the undertaking will introduce a special Rs150 worth daily bus pass, which will enable commuters to travel unlimited journeys on all routes and services of its network.
In its fortnightly meeting on Tuesday, the BEST committee passed a proposal through which a new ‘daily unlimited’ pass covering AC services is sought to be introduced. General Manager Om Prakash Gupta said, this pass has been introduced especially keeping in mind the requirements of tourists. “There have always been demands which sought to make available a single daily unlimited pass for travelling on buses in Mumbai. This is particularly true about tourists. The existing Rs40 daily pass does not cover many premium services and certainly not the AC services. Through the Rs150 pass, we are trying to cater to these demands and expect a positive response from commuters,” said Gupta.
An official proposal by the BEST administration concerning the pass said, “The undertaking has introduced Rs40 worth daily unlimited bus pass which is applicable for (non-ac) regular, limited and express services. Demands for the introduction of a separate daily bus pass for AC services have been received by the undertaking. Thus, the BEST undertaking seeks to introduce the Rs150 worth daily unlimited pass for its entire area of operations. Passengers having valid RFID cards mandatory for daily passes will only be able to buy it.”
However, when asked about tourists being forced to buy the RFID-based ID cards (smart card format) for being eligible to buy the new passes, BEST Committee Chairman Ashok Patil said an option is presently being worked out for them.
“We are aware that tourists may not want to stand in long queues to get the RFID cards so we are planning to provide them with an option. Once they produce a valid identity card like a passport or Visa along with a photograph, the daily passes will be issued to them with their personal details printed so that there is no misuse,” explained Patil.
The exact date for the official introduction of these passes, though, remains uncertain. When asked, Patil said there is a possibility that due to unavailability of related infrastructure, the launch may be shifted a few days ahead.