Mumbai: BEST launches app to let commuters track buses on mobile phones

MUMBAI :THE BEST on Monday launched its mobile app ‘Pravas’, which will enable commuters track its buses. The app, which will go live on Tuesday, will also allow commuters to also know the estimated time of arrival of the buses.

The move comes within two months of the BEST reducing its minimum fare to Rs 5 in order to attract more commuters to boost the revenue of the cash-strapped undertaking. The buses can accommodate the 31 commuters.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the app and 10 electric buses, which were inducted into the BEST fleet. Of the 10 electric buses, six are air-conditioned. The buses will be initially pressed on route 302 — from Sion station to Mulund Check Naka. Officials said the buses will soon ply on routes C 42 (Rani Laxmi chowk in Sion to Dadlani park in Thane), 352 (Rani Laxmi chowk to Trombay) and 63 (Chunabatti to Tardeo).

“BEST should aim to charge these new buses using renewable energy sources like solar energy while making Mumbai 100 per cent pollution free,” Thackeray said.

A senior official said that the 10 buses are part of the 40 electric buses funded under Phase 1 of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FAME 1) scheme. The remaining are expected to be inducted in batches by end of October. BEST has procured the buses on a wet lease basis from Secunderabad-based Olectra Greentech Limited.

Arvind Sawant, Union Minister for Heavy Industries said that his ministry has approved 750 electric buses for Maharashtra — the highest in the country — under FAME 2.

BEST General Manager Dr Surendrakumar Bagde said that they are going to invite tenders for 340 more electric buses, including 40 under FAME 1 and 300 under FAME 2.