Mumbai: The iconic double-decker buses that have graced Mumbai’s streets for generations are preparing to make their final journey on September 15. The Bombay Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) spokesperson announced this decision on Monday, marking the end of an era.
These open-deck double-deckers, which have long been a favourite among tourists for leisurely rides to iconic destinations like the Gateway of India and along Marine Drive, will also be retired from service by October 5.
To replace these iconic buses, BEST has ambitious plans. They intend to introduce electric AC double-deckers on tourist routes and add 18 more AC double-deckers to their fleet. Out of these, 10 will serve the suburbs, and eight will operate in the southern part of Mumbai. This modernization initiative aims to enhance the city’s public transportation and reduce its carbon footprint.
The decline of the double-decker fleet has been a gradual process. In 2010, the fleet was reduced to 122 buses, and by 2017, it had dwindled to just 120. In 2019, BEST’s annual budget proposed the scrapping of 72 double-deckers by the end of 2020–21, further diminishing the fleet to its current count of 48.