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Charming double decker buses coming back to Mumbai

Written by Nizam Shaikh

According to a media report, the City of Mumbai is likely to get a major upgrade in its fleet of public transport busses. The BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport), a civic transport and electricity provider an autonomous body under the Municipal Corporation has decided to procure 100 units of BS6 diesel-powered double-decker buses. Sources say that BEST has floated tenders on 11th November for the procurement of these buses and will open on 7th December 2020. 

Reports suggest that the new double-decker buses will have a capacity of 70 passengers and will come with driver-centric features such as Automated Manual Transmission. The new double-decker buses will have rear and front entrance and exit along with two staircases that will allow smooth flow of passengers to and fro from the upper deck. Both the doors are also expected to be pneumatically operated. The bus will also feature emergency exits for safety and will be equipped with advanced features such as intercommunication systems, electronic bus halt destination boards and closed-circuit monitoring. The diesel-powered buses will come with BS6 compliance and aims to reduce air pollution. 

The new double-decker buses are likely to operate on long-distance routes and are expected to become operational from 2021. The double-decker buses were first introduced in Mumbai in 1937. The buses gained popularity among both tourists and commuters and the fleet had 141 buses in 1947. The fleet kept growing to 882 in 1993. In 2018 BEST administration planned to scrap the double-decker buses as they require more maintenance but the BEST committee strongly opposed the decision. The fleet has been thinned down to just 120 buses out of more than 3,500 single-decker buses in operation in the city. The new buses will replace the earlier decommissioned double-decker buses bringing the old charm back to the city. 

The new buses are expected to be revealed by the first half of 2021.