BEST proposed to undergo major transformations along with introducing first Common Transport Card Ticket

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) release of Rs 1,200 crore to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) has shown hope in improving the conditions of BEST, in return BEST has agreed to undertake various reforms to improve its financial health.

The decision was undertaken during the BMC group leaders’ meeting, the proposal is yet to be tabled in the standing committee meeting for the official approval. The BMC had already sanctioned Rs 600 crore at the standing committee meeting in June. Of this, Rs 100 crore will be handed over to the BEST every month for day-to-day expenses, which will help pay the BEST employees. The conditions include a minimum fare of Rs 5, under which the BEST has already started with the reduction in base fare to Rs 5. Under the other condition, BEST has initiated the procurement of 450 buses.

The other major reform that is around the corner is that BEST may be the first public transport system to be a part of the One Nation One Card ticket. Under this system, commuters will be able to use a common card recharged through a wallet on the BEST, Metro Lines, Indian Railways, local and outstation trains.     

BEST’s General Manager Surendra Bagde said that it will be a pilot project on selective routes initially which would later expand to other routes. While the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) is building the automatic fare collection (AFC) system, Bharat Electricals Limited (BEL) is making the Electronic Ticket Issuing Machines (ETIM). New ticketing machines are being introduced as the existing ones are not compatible with the new software needed to get the Common Transport Card System in place. With it, they will launch a new app in a month. Under the procurement of new BEST buses, many of them will be AC buses and a new command centre is under construction at Wadala Depot to manage the increased number.   

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