Monday, August 9, 2010

AC buses to end taxi, auto torture at airport?

BEST authorities have a plan to end the torture faced by passengers trying to board a taxi or an autorickshaw outside the Mumbai airport. They have proposed an airport-specific air-conditioned bus service connecting various parts of the city.

BEST General Manager Om Prakash Gupta said all possible options are being looked into to ease passengers’ woes outside the airport. The BEST top brass has already formally met their Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) counterparts to take the proposal forward. Gupta said, “There are two major issues involved in the project - parking space for the buses and enough number of passengers to sustain the service.”

To counter the second possibility - not getting enough passengers from the airport - BEST is trying to rope in all the stake holders, including various hotel associations that can promote BEST as an efficient and cheap mode of transport. “We are working on various surveys to understand traffic route mapping, number of passengers required and bus frequency for the project,” Gupta said. He said that BEST would like to start off with the Airport-Navi Mumbai route and Airport-Colaba route, which can be sustained.

Senior BEST officials said that the aim is to have a bus frequency of 30 minutes and a booking counter at the airport terminal.

A MIAL official confirmed the development saying, “We are in discussions with BEST on initiating dedicated bus services from airport to various parts of the city. Once the modalities are chalked out, we will provide them parking space and other facilities.”

However, Dinette Cherub, a taxi driver who regularly plies from the airport, said, “BEST should first aim to run proper services in the city and then think about airport. Everyone knows their lack of punctuality and nobody will even think of travelling in a BEST bus from the airport.”

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