New Double-decker bus for BEST will arrive in 2022

New Double-decker bus for BEST will arrive in 2022

Government push for clean energy has meant double cost and double delay for the undertaking that had planned to get 100 diesel-powered buses by 2021

BEST had just 60 double-deckers in its fleet in December 2020 and a New Double-decker bus for BEST will arrive in 2022

The policy shift towards electric vehicles has disrupted BEST’s double-decker bus maths, with costs shooting up and the procurement going back to the drawing table. Its chief told mid-day on Thursday that despite the “electrifying delay,” the e-buses will come by 2022.

Following emotional appeals from Mumbaikars, first reported by mid-day, the undertaking had in November 2020 placed orders for 100 automatic transmission Bharat Standard VI class, non-AC double-decker buses with power-operated doors.

However, as the processes were on, the Maharashtra government’s more significant emphasis on electric vehicles meant a revision in the order.

A senior official said.

“The costs of electric double-decker vehicles are much more than the diesel ones and it has led to the collapse of the earlier calculations. On an average, a regular diesel double-decker bus costs about Rs 70 lakh, but an electric one costs about Rs 1.7 crore, leading to escalations. There are central subsidies available for electric vehicles and we are now calculating how we can crack this,” 

The diesel-powered new buses were supposed to start arriving by 2021, but the e-vehicles will now be in the city only in 2022 and a New Double-decker bus for BEST will arrive in 2022

New Double decker bus for BEST will arrive in 2022 1getty image

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Rs 70lakh
Cost of a diesel-powered bus

Rs 1.7crore
Cost of electric double-decker

BEST chairman Ashish Chemburkar told mid-day.

“There is no reason to worry. Mumbaikars will get back their favourite double-deckers. It will not only be nostalgic, but also environmentally friendly. There are a handful of manufacturers of electric double-decker vehicles and we are tapping them. Also, let me assure you that the last of the existing fleet of double-decker buses will be scrapped by 2023 and the new set of 100 buses will start arriving before the last bus is gone,” 

Introduced in 1937 on the red double-decker buses in London, the city’s buses were a hit from Day 1.

However, they quietly began vanishing from the city’s scape with the fleet going down from 227 in April 2006 to 171 April 2008 and 134 in July 2009, 122 in 2018, and with just 60 remaining by December 2020.

A report from Midday on BEST lining up 900 buses for scrap over next one year on August 18, 2020, followed by another on August 26 that double-decker buses had started arriving at Anik depot to end up in scrap, there was a massive surge from citizens.

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