Mumbai brings back its iconic double-decker buses—this time as EVs

Back with an electrical bang.
Back with an electrical bang.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
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Mumbai’s iconic double-decker buses will return to the city’s roads.

Maharashtra’s environment minister Aaditya Thackeray announced yesterday (Jan. 27) that Mumbai’s iconic double-decker buses will go electric and the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will soon procure at least 900 buses for the city.

“While doing so, the BEST is procuring 900 of them, fully electric and emission-free. As we increase our BEST fleet, ultimately to 10,000 electric/clean alternate fuel buses, our aim is to have maximum double-decker buses, as this increases our capacity,” he added in a string of tweets.

Approximately 2.5 million passengers travel from the BEST buses every day. Along with Mumbai, BEST provides services in neighbouring Thane, Mira-Bhayander, and Navi Mumbai.

Going EV saves the day for BEST buses

The buses were first introduced in 1937 with an initial fleet of 141, which grew to over 800 by 1993.

However, in 2018, BEST decided to phase out the double-deckers by 2023 citing operational costs. The organisation had said that it was becoming difficult to run these buses as they require more effort than the normal ones.

“These buses require twice the time for maintenance than normal BEST buses, making it difficult for the staff…Further, one of our main concerns is the extra manpower required to operate them,” a senior BEST official had told the national daily Hindustan Times in 2018.