On July 9, the first day on which the fare cut by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) became effective, the ridership witnessed 29% more passengers, according to official figures. However, revenue generated from ticket sale declined by 32%.
BEST buses saw 22.18 lakh passengers on Tuesday as compared to 17.15 lakh than the previous day. However, the revenue generated from ticket sale decreased from Rs 2.12 crore, on the previous day to Rs 67 lakh on Tuesday.
The highest growth in ridership was in areas close to Oshiwara depot, which witnessed 47.74% growth with an increase of 29,170 commuters. But the earnings in the area, similar to other areas in the city, dropped by 21.24%. On the other hand, Magathane depot witnessed the lowest passenger growth of 14.29%, while earnings dropped by Rs 4 lakh.
Responding to a question by The Times of India, BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said the objective of the fare cut is to provide an affordable public transport service. “We want to encourage more people to opt for buses and avoid bringing private cars and two-wheelers on roads. It will help reduce noise/air pollution and congestion on roads,” he said.
BEST officials, commenting on the dip in revenue, said, “BEST buses are public transport, we are not here to make a profit. In fact, the world over, public transport services always run into losses and are funded/subsidised by local governments.”
Decision To Boost Ridership
The decision to reduce fares was made to boost ridership and increase the income generated by BEST buses in the city.
Over the years, BEST ridership has fallen from 45 lakh a day to 27 lakh and incurring an estimated daily loss of around Rs 2 crore. BEST has a fleet of 3,337 buses including 120 double-deckers and operates on 483 routes in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
New Fare Break-Up
The fare for non-AC buses, effective from July 9, has come down to Rs 5 from Rs 8 for the first 5 km. The maximum fare for non-AC buses has been capped at Rs 20. The new fare slab for non-AC buses will be Rs 5, 10, 15 and Rs 20.
Additionally, for AC buses, the minimum bus fare has been reduced to Rs 6 from Rs 20, and the maximum fare has been capped at Rs 25. The new fare slab for AC buses will be Rs 6, 13, 19 and Rs 25.
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