Mumbai: Mumbai’s iconic red-coloured double-decker buses will stop from September 15, according to an official from the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking, quoted in media reports. The official also suggested that the open double-decker buses will also be stopped from October first week.
“Currently, just seven double-decker buses, including three open-deck buses are left in the BEST’s fleet. As these vehicles are completing 15 years of their coral life, the double-decker buses will forever go off roads from September 15, while the open-deck buses will be pulled out on October 5,” BEST spokesperson told newswire PTI.
These double-decker buses have been at the centre of Mumbai’s identity since they were introduced back in 1937. From tourists to Bollywood movies and songs, it is known and loved by all.
They are still loved by Mumbaikars, so much so that soon the news of the buses going off the roads forever was out, commuter groups and bus enthusiasts urged BEST to preserve at least two of these iconic vehicles at its Anik depot-based museum.
At the same time, these groups of commuters and bus enthusiasts have also written to Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mangal Lodha, Tourism Minister and the BEST administration as well.
The BEST currently had only seven of these buses because, after 2008, the administration had stopped inducting these. The officials cited the reason for the high operating costs behind this move. Until the 1990s, around 900 of these double-decker buses were under the BEST. But gradually, these numbers began decreasing.
Last week in a release, the BEST announced that it will procure open-deck buses for sightseeing and it has already started the process of acquiring them as well. But until then for tourists, the administration will be using the battery run double-decker e-buses.