Only one passenger for every two seats and up to five standees will be allowed on every BEST bus from Monday
MUMBAI: In a first, BEST buses will travel as far as Virar, Badlapur and Panvel to help people reach their workplaces from Monday, when offices are to reopen with 10% staff. “These are special services for those living in the far-flung suburbs as local trains are yet to resume services,” said BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade. “Five special corridors were created and added to the timetable on Sunday.”
These services will ply during peak rush hours—5.30am-11.30am and 5.15pm-10.30pm. BEST buses leaving from Virar will terminate at Malvani from where passengers can take connecting buses to reach their destination. Similarly, there will be buses from Nalasopara to Goregaon, Badalpur via Airoli/ Shilphata to Sion, Kalyan via Mumbra-Kharigaon to Sion and Panvel to Sion. In the reverse direction for these routes, passengers can board buses from 3.45pm to 9pm.
Those who are self-employed and do not have ID cards like shop workers, plumbers and electricians can board BEST buses too. “Passengers should inform the conductor the nature of duty and workplace headed to, if asked,” said a senior officer. BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde has appealed to citizens to follow social distancing norms and wear masks while travelling in buses.
The BEST plans to run 2,000-2,200 buses of its 3,500-strong fleet, including those for essential staffers. “In case of a shortage, AC buses may be deployed; fare will be that of a non-AC bus,” said an officer, adding that a daily pass would cost Rs 50.
The BEST will operate 81 routes across MMR including Borivli-Dadar (440 Ltd), Dadar -Colaba (6 Ltd), Oshiwara-Hutatma Chowk (4 Ltd), Mulund-Sion (302), Thane Khopat-Sion (C-42), Thane Khopat- Andheri east (496 Ltd), Belapur-Bandra (505 Ltd), Belapur-Wadala (504 Ltd), Vikhroli-Backbay (7 Ltd), Shivaji Nagar-Mantralaya (8 Ltd), Kurla station east-Mantralaya (5), Kurla station east-World Trade Centre (85) and Borivli-Vashi (524 Ltd).
The MSRTC will operate 250 more service on Kalyan-Thane, Badlapur-Thane, Virar-Borivli routes and up to Mantralaya and BMC headquarters in south Mumbai.