Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has taken a huge step towards sustainable transportation with the launch of the country’s first electric double-decker bus.
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) launched the bus on Tuesday for commercial use.
The bus will ferry office-goers from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to Nariman Point and National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) at Nariman Point on the A-115 route.
A Unique Heritage Tour on Weekends
In addition to the daily commute, BEST has decided to provide an exclusive heritage tour on weekends.
The double-decker bus will go through various heritage and Art Deco buildings in South Bombay (SoBo), providing a scenic route along the city’s Marine Drive.
Tourists can enjoy the picturesque views of the city while relieving its historical significance.
The fare for the A-115 route is an affordable Rs 6 for 5km distance. However, the fare for the upper deck for the Heritage Tour is Rs 150, while it is Rs 75 for the lower deck for the “entire picturesque ride.”
100% Digital, No Ticketing on the Bus
According to Lokesh Chandra, the general manager of BEST, the new e-double decker bus has been made 100% digital, meaning that purchasing tickets on the bus is not possible for regular commuters.
To board the bus, commuters will have to either download the Chalo app or purchase a Chalo smart card which can be topped up with cash.
Commuters can select their journey on the app and simply tap their mobile device on the machine located at the entry door of the bus.
They will need to tap again while exiting from the rear door, and the fare will be automatically deducted from their e-wallet UPI or online payment linked with the app.
The bus is equipped with two staircases to access the upper deck.
More Buses Likely to Join the Fleet Soon
With more buses expected to arrive within a couple of weeks, other routes are likely to be introduced.
The routes will cover CSMT to Gateway of India, Kurla to BKC, and Bandra East, according to sources. Mumbai’s traffic is a significant issue, and the introduction of electric double-decker buses is a significant move towards sustainable transportation.
The launch of India’s first electric double-decker bus is a landmark achievement for the country.
BEST’s decision to offer a unique heritage tour on weekends is an innovative way to promote tourism while promoting sustainable transportation.
The move to 100% digital ticketing and payment is in line with the government’s vision of a digital India.
The launch of more buses in the coming weeks is a welcome development that will go a long way in reducing the city’s carbon footprint.