BEST plans AC buses every 15 minutes from airports

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MUMBAI: BEST plans to start air-conditioned buses from the domestic and international airports every 15 minutes at one-fifth the fares of prepaid cabs.

There could be point-to-point services for business passengers to hubs like Lower Parel and Nariman Point. “We are in talks with the airport authorities and may get a bus-hold area at the new airport terminal,” BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta told a committee meeting on Tuesday.

He said BEST could ply buses to any destination depending on requirements. But, he said, the airport authorities should conduct a survey on the most preferred destinations across the island city and suburbs.

The airport precinct is presently a transit point for BEST buses. There are five to six services operating via the airport and they are mainly non-AC buses, so passengers prefer prepaid ordinary cabs, Cool Cabs or fleet cabs.

Gupta said the objective was to decongest the airport area, provide affordable transport and encourage more citizens to opt for public transport. It will encourage citizens not to get their cars to the airport to pick up passengers, he said.

MIAL sources said the bus service would cater to millions of passengers and help strengthen public transport.

BEST committee member Sandeep Deshpande said BEST should start counters for distributing smartcards to tourists so that they can make a one-time payment and travel by any bus across the city. Gupta said if the airport plan was implemented, a special counter would be set up at the airports to disburse the smartcards.

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