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In August’s first week, Mumbaikars will receive their first AC double-decker electric bus. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) on the occasion of its Foundation Day will launch the buses.
In October last year, Aaditya Thackeray, Maharashtra Environment Minister stated that every bus that will be inducted by BEST will be electric and that the entire fleet of BEST would be converted to electric buses by 2028.
The double-decker buses will be able to carry between 78 to 90 passengers. According to a report, the rollout of the green buses aligns with BEST’s effort to save the iconic double-decker buses that have seen their numbers drop by 60% in the past two years.
In 2019, 120 double-deckers were in use. This number dropped to 48 in 2021. Thackrey stated that the electric double-deckers can run on either electricity or hydrogen fuel cells depending on which one is more capable.
The government has set a target for 15% of public transport to be electric by 2025, according to Iqbal Singh Chahal, the Mumbai municipal commissioner. The corporation also wants to see 50% of public transport using electric vehicles by 2023.
Lokesh Chandra, BEST’s general manager, stated that 55 locations have been chosen in the city for charging electric vehicles. Through a public-private partnership, more charging stations will soon be installed in the area. He added that this will allow the general public to charge their cars.
BEST has seen a decline in the number of buses through the years. It will get the next batch of 225 buses by March 2023, and the remaining 450 buses by June 2023.