BEST seeks procurement of 600 new buses on wet lease

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The Brihamumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) management has presented its plan for the undertaking for the year 2018-19, saying that the BEST committee needs to approve procurement of 600 new buses in the form of mini and midi buses on wet lease (in which the buses and their drivers would be hired on a rental basis), bringing down operational cost by Rs 228 crore. The move to procure 600 buses was earlier opposed by the BEST committee.

When asked what will happen if the committee does not agree to the proposal, BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde said there is no other option in front of the committee if the undertaking has to be saved from its current financial crisis.

“We have no other option, we are bleeding money and we have to procure these buses on wet lease as we cannot afford to buy them,” he said.

The wet lease has been opposed by the BEST committee, whose members have said they will have to bring in private drivers if the buses would be rented and this would be in direct violation of the BEST drivers’ interest.

The BEST is yet to decide the final break up of these 600 buses in terms of how many of them would be normal buses and how many would be either mini- or midi-buses. Mr Bagde said, “If the proposal is accepted and we start working towards procuring these buses then we will see better and punctual services from 2018.”