Mumbai: In view of the soaring popularity of the Tejaswini buses for women within a month of their introduction, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking plans to roll out 11 more of them. Presently, the BEST has a ridership of 33 lakh daily, of which ten lakh are female.
Last December, the BEST rolled out the 'Tejaswini' project in some key areas of the city, keeping in mind the rise in female workforce. The 35-five seater mini-bus is yellow-coloured and has 'Tejaswini' painted on it. It runs on the same route as the Special No. 1 route between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA).
“The Tejaswini bus service has become popular among women commuters. To meet the increased demand, we will roll out 11 more buses soon,” said Manoj Vaade, public relations officer and spokesperson of the BEST.
The government of Maharashtra had sanctioned a grant of Rs 11 crore under the Tejaswini scheme, with which the BEST purchased 37 mini-buses, costing Rs 29 lakh each.
“At present, we have buses running in areas like Colaba, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Seepz. We will be increasing the number of buses, however we are yet to take a call on the routes where more buses will be deployed,” added Vaade. However, he also mentioned, the buses would be rolled out in places where there are a higher number of women commuters.
The buses are operated during peak hours only and a similar timeline is followed in all the three depots -- from 8.05am to 11.30am and from 4.30pm to 8 pm. However, when there is no rush, conductors allow men to travel on these buses.
“Since the fares were slashed in July 2019, there has been an increase in bus commuters. So when the bus is not crowded, we allow male commuters to board too,” Vaade explained.