India’s first double-decker electric bus receives grand welcome in Mumbai

India's first double-decker electric bus was launched by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) at on February 21.

First Published22 Feb 2023
Bus enthusiasts traveled from various parts o Mumbai to experience the maiden ride of the double-decker e-bus .
Bus enthusiasts traveled from various parts o Mumbai to experience the maiden ride of the double-decker e-bus . (HT_PRINT)

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport's (BEST) first air-conditioned electric double-decker bus has received an overwhelming response from the public after being launched for the public on February 21. India's first double-decker e-bus started its operation on route number 115 between CSMT and Nariman Point in South Mumbai at 8:45 am on Tuesday. It is one of 200 buses that BEST has hired on a wet lease from Switch Mobility, a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland.

Bus enthusiasts travelled from various parts of Mumbai to experience the maiden ride of the double-decker e-bus . The bus boasts features like CCTV, mobile charging points, GPS, digital destination boards, and a public addressing system.

The red and black e-bus caught the attention of onlookers, prompting many to take photos and videos of it. However, concerns were also expressed about its seating arrangement, particularly the exterior colour scheme and the slope of the seats towards the front, which may cause occupants to slide off during hard braking. Some passengers also expressed disappointment about the lack of sufficient height on the upper deck and the arrangement of the seats.

Reportedly, many users also liked the fact that the bus has two staircases that could help control overcrowding and pushing during boarding and alighting. The protocol is to enter through the front door and exit through the back door.

Prior to the first ride, BEST announced that only individuals with a Chalo app or card would be permitted to travel on the bus. However, this decision led to chaos on the first ride, prompting the deployment of a conductor on board for subsequent journeys.

Also Read: India's first AC double decker electric bus inducted in Mumbai | See photos

Some people were also concerned about the front side staircase and the two seats next to its base. They felt that they left no landing space for passengers coming down from the upper deck with the two seats placed just a feet apart from the last step.

Speaking to news agency PTI, a former BEST panel member expressed concerns that the bus was not following Automotive Industry standards (AIS-139) for double-decker buses two emergency exits for the upper deck while the staircase is considered one of these emergency exits. The former official said that the two seats should have been removed as they could present safety issues during emergency evacuations.

However, Deputy RTO of Vashi Hemangini Patil has assured the public that the vehicle was thoroughly checked and that the seat arrangements are in accordance with the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)-approved design layout

As per reports, BEST is also planning to launch two more electric double-decker buses soon, one from Churchgate and the other one from Kurla.

(With inputs from PTI)

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