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Old 20th July 2012, 15:18   #1
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Thumbs up B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

I would like to start a thread on Mumbaiís second life line Ė The B.E.S.T. From Horse drawn trams to King Long AC buses, the BEST has seen it all.


Iím sure we all have a lot to say about these gentle giants like the updates on new routes, grievances and also few suggestions. As TBHP is the most well-read forum on Indian automotive scene, I hope elements discussed here can drag the BEST public relations attention and will have a positive impact on betterment of our city transport system.


The much hated and loved red devils which run on the streets of Mumbai incessantly, may it be the water logging, riots or other calamities. The motorist hate them at times for their irresponsible driving, but my heart goes out to the drivers who manage to manoeuvre the primitive buses in this modern era without a scratch in most busiest areas of the city. (Keep in mind almost all buses sport a miniature RWM).


While browsing through the website, I found this info and was fascinated about the thought process that has gone in organising the route network like the below -

Quote:
The common citizen of Mumbai is obviously not aware of many surprising features of the BEST's Bus Service. Just to state a few examples :
Bus Route No. 166 - plies on roads interconnecting maximum Hospitals.
Bus Route No. 9 - A network of large number of school and colleges is interwoven by this route.
Bus Route No. 320, 22ltd., 25ltd. - These routes have an outstanding feature of connecting two largest water reservoirs of the city.

I remember reading - "De-Congest Roads, Travel By BEST". Yes sure, why not ? Can the masses using their own vehicles travel in today's red devils, or for that matter the latest very unreliable King Longs?

IMHO, If Mumbai is fed-up of traffic and the arrogant auto / cab drivers, the BEST is the only solution to have a hassle free ride to your work and back.

Hoping the B.E.S.T will be better and the BEST in the coming futureÖ
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Old 20th July 2012, 15:24   #2
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

I travel in BEST daily, that too From Mira Road to Churchgate in AS2; quite frankly, the only reason I travel in the BUS is that it is AC and saves me the hassles of parking/driver costs. BEST is loosing ground and fast; they should introduce VOLVO's soon and also, inject other low floor buses. Bigger and Better fleets.

All said and done, BEST is painting the town red with it's Balance sheet matching in color - RED.
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Old 21st July 2012, 14:51   #3
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Well said, amtak. I seriously think that there should be a couple of more incidents of fires in Kinglongs that would force BEST to take immediate steps to replace them!

@Taurus: That last pic of double decker is clicked by me!

Slightly OT: I heard from more than one person that one window glass of one of the 6 Volvos with Oshiwara depot broke, and they have now used plywood/cardboard in its place
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Old 21st July 2012, 15:16   #4
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Its been quite a long time since I travelled in a B.E.S.T. bus. But few years back, their buses were immaculate. I even read that B.E.S.T. was awarded the best bus service in India among all the other cities' transport services. The buses were properly maintained, driven nicely and were clean.

Now I dont think it holds true. The buses these days are clean (observations from outside) but have a lot of dents and scratches. Even the repairs of these dents are just patch works. Some buses have repainted portions which dont even match the original red colour and looks like it's just been painted with a worn out hand brush, looks extremely pathetic to say the least. Biggest concern is that, I have noticed a tremendous increase in the number of breakdowns and accidents of these buses.

I have heard that the reason behind this is that B.E.S.T. does not maintain the buses on their own now, instead they have given this job on contracts. The contractors, obviously there to mint money, does a shoddy job.

As far as their driving is concerned, I have no complaints. Yes, some drivers are nasty but then even some of us are rash drivers. I feel B.E.S.T.'s biggest achievement is that it covers each and every street of this huge metropolitan city.

B.E.S.T. in recent times have taken a lot of bad decisions - including TATA Marcopolo buses in their fleet and KingLong AC buses are the ones I recollect. Now I hear they are planning to add low floor Volvo AC coaches. I hope they do it fast and maintain it well. Cochin (Kerela) has these buses and I am amazed at how well they are maintained, considering the pathetic condition of Kerela's state transport buses!
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Old 21st July 2012, 16:36   #5
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
Now I dont think it holds true. The buses these days are clean (observations from outside) but have a lot of dents and scratches. Even the repairs of these dents are just patch works. Some buses have repainted portions which dont even match the original red colour and looks like it's just been painted with a worn out hand brush, looks extremely pathetic to say the least. Biggest concern is that, I have noticed a tremendous increase in the number of breakdowns and accidents of these buses.
Kinglong is the biggest wrong decision taken by BEST. When Delhi and other states can have VOLVO's why can't they? why do they need trial runs? Navi Mumbai has them, Pune has them, BLR has them; why do they need to try them? A lot of people have stopped travelling in AC buses because the fares have gone up but the service level hasn't. The buses are clean to a certain extent; however they have some issues:
  • Kinglong's are slow and engine noise is on the higher side.
  • Not as spacious as a Volvo on the inside
  • Rattling windows; doors not opening properly or damaged properly
  • AC either not working properly or like a fridge
  • King long seats are more comfortable than Volvos

Last edited by GTO : 30th July 2012 at 20:52. Reason: Please quote only the relevant bits of a post. Quoting an entire long message inconveniences our mobile users
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Old 21st July 2012, 19:16   #6
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amtak View Post
The buses are clean to a certain extent; however they have some issues:
  • Kinglong's are slow and engine noise is on the higher side.
  • Not as spacious as a Volvo on the inside
  • Rattling windows; doors not opening properly or damaged properly
  • AC either not working properly or like a fridge
  • King long seats are more comfortable than Volvos
And add to that the poor maintenance (especially of bodies). The bodies themselves are poorly built too.

Depots have also wreaked havoc with the engines of many Kinglongs, severely affecting their performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
Now I dont think it holds true. The buses these days are clean (observations from outside) but have a lot of dents and scratches. Even the repairs of these dents are just patch works. Some buses have repainted portions which dont even match the original red colour and looks like it's just been painted with a worn out hand brush, looks extremely pathetic to say the least.
True. Accident repair jobs are very shoddy these days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
I have heard that the reason behind this is that B.E.S.T. does not maintain the buses on their own now, instead they have given this job on contracts. The contractors, obviously there to mint money, does a shoddy job.
As far as I know, the maintenance is still done by BEST itself. They do have a genuine staff shortage. But that excuse is no longer valid IMHO. They have been giving this reason for 2 years now. In this much time, they could have recruited all the staff they wanted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raj_5004 View Post
B.E.S.T. in recent times have taken a lot of bad decisions - including TATA Marcopolo buses in their fleet and KingLong AC buses are the ones I recollect. Now I hear they are planning to add low floor Volvo AC coaches. I hope they do it fast and maintain it well. Cochin (Kerela) has these buses and I am amazed at how well they are maintained, considering the pathetic condition of Kerela's state transport buses!
Nitpicking, but BEST does not have any Marcopolos. Another big and unnoticed-by-everyone mistake is large scale corruption in building of bodies of around 550-600 buses. The Tata CNG buses in MH 01 LA 6xxx series (BEST serial numbers 5001 to around 5600) have the worst bodies I have ever seen on BEST. An official from the engineering department of a depot has confirmed malpractices in building these bodies.

What you said about Cochin's Volvos is true with NMMT's Volvos too. Thats because NMMT Volvos are maintained by Volvo, not NMMT!

In BEST, things differ from depot to depot. While some depots are very bad, some are still good.

Here are some pictures and a news report.
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Old 22nd July 2012, 00:17   #7
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Hi everybody
At one time they used to be immaculate and the work culture was better.
Queue was strictly followed and the conductor would not allow more than the permitted passengers,unless there was some disruption.This was until the 70s when the railways went on strike.
Incidentally Bombay,in the mid 1960s used to have proper electric buses(I think made in Czechoslavakia) that used to run from Tardeo to Null Bazaar and maybe beyond.
Also it had Leyland double deckers with automatic gear shift.
Traffic was great.Travelled from Metro cinema to Mahim,by 84 ltd bus, in less than 30 minutes.It was in the afternoon on a working day and there was no bandh.
Regards

Last edited by faustus77 : 22nd July 2012 at 00:18.
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Old 22nd July 2012, 00:38   #8
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

You might crib and complain about so many things about BEST.
But once you relocate to another city ( pune in my case ) you realise what a GEM of service BEST is.

Apart from King longs i think the regular fleet is well maintained IMO.
IIRC , The floppest model to have been in BEST has to be TATA Starbus series.
Corruption in body building is rampant even with MSRTC.

Its good to see they have started many midi buses.
Most other cities have switched to Volvos and i hope to see them donning BEST colours soon.

Once again, its refreshing to take a ride in the frontmost seat on a doubledecker bus even today ( used to do that as a kid very regularly )

Last edited by silverado : 22nd July 2012 at 00:40.
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Old 22nd July 2012, 01:33   #9
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Silverado
Hi
Very true.Best is still the best in India.
Talking of the front seat on the upper deck that is still awsome(havnt done it in decades but do remember that)
Better than that was in a double decker tram right from museum to Kings Circle.Heavenly.(You may be too young as the trams were phased out around 1963.
Regards
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Old 22nd July 2012, 02:01   #10
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

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Originally Posted by faustus77 View Post
Silverado
Talking of the front seat on the upper deck that is still awsome(havnt done it in decades but do remember that)
Better than that was in a double decker tram right from museum to Kings Circle.Heavenly.(You may be too young as the trams were phased out around 1963.
Regards
I remember travelling to vashi in a double decker and the best view was when it would cross the vashi bridge.

I was born in 1980 so have missed those times.
I hope someday we have a double decker running on sealink.

And just like Premier Padmini , a BEST double decker is a Heritage symbol of Mumbai city.
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Old 22nd July 2012, 11:24   #11
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

have been traveling in B.E.S.T. for years now. Since the trains have become overcrowded, i prefer to take the bus. It takes some more time but I don't mind it if it leaves me at the doorstep and and gives me a comfortable ride.

In recent times, I travel daily on Ghodbunder road from Mira Road. The service C-61 Exp from Mira Road to Mulund serves me quite well. The busses have good frequency and are satisfactorily maintained. The -ve part here is the price of tickets.

The TMT buses that ply on same route have almost half the ticket price. B.E.S.T. has named this service as EXPRESS, but actually it has almost all the stops excluding some 2-3 small stops from where usually no one boards. I agree that B.E.S.T. has maintained their fleet well on this route and have rarely seen any breakdowns as compared to TMT buses, but if their pricing was proper, this might be one of the most profitable routes on their radar. The reason being, the shoddy TMT service and increasing number of passengers, and no other service in this route. I wish the B.E.S.T. introduces the A.C. service on this route except from the 700-AS and AS-458(I think) which can run to Mira Road as there is only one AC bus from Mira Road at present. Introduction of volvos will tremendously increase the popularity of AC travel leaving behind private vehicles, if the fleet is maintained properly.
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Old 23rd July 2012, 17:22   #12
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

Carzone
Hi
You are right that the limited buses skip just very few stops.
I dont know but is there a difference in the fare when you travel by limited and nonlimited?I have a recollection that there was talk about this but not too sure if it was implemented.
Incidentally around 1960 4 ltd charged 25 paise from Andheri station(starting point) to Flora Fountain(terminating point)
Regards
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Old 23rd July 2012, 19:03   #13
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

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Carzone
Hi
You are right that the limited buses skip just very few stops.
I dont know but is there a difference in the fare when you travel by limited and nonlimited?I have a recollection that there was talk about this but not too sure if it was implemented.
Incidentally around 1960 4 ltd charged 25 paise from Andheri station(starting point) to Flora Fountain(terminating point)
Regards
Yes, there is a slight difference is charges in the prices between the limited and normal buses. But here i am talking about the new express routes implemented by B.E.S.T. They do skip some stops but charge a lot more than normal. According to me skipping 3-4 stops should double the travelling price!

Last edited by carzone : 23rd July 2012 at 19:05.
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Old 24th July 2012, 17:13   #14
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

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You might crib and complain about so many things about BEST.
But once you relocate to another city ( pune in my case ) you realise what a GEM of service BEST is.
You stole my words Silverado. I used to commute regularly from Sion to Seepz and then Mulund to Seepz some 10 years back. And there was no reliable and faster mode of commute.
The double decker first row seats - aaaaaah. I would still love to seat there.

Do we still have double deckers in Mumbai? I have never seen them whenever I have visited Mumbai in last couple of years.
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Old 24th July 2012, 18:57   #15
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Default re: B.E.S.T. buses - Painting Mumbai RED!

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Originally Posted by amtak View Post
Kinglong is the biggest wrong decision taken by BEST. When Delhi and other states can have VOLVO's why can't they? why do they need trial runs? Navi Mumbai has them, Pune has them, BLR has them; why do they need to try them? A lot of people have stopped travelling in AC buses because the fares have gone up but the service level hasn't. The buses are clean to a certain extent; however they have some issues:
I could be wrong, but i think the reason is because the BEST needed CNG buses and Volvo didn't have them. However more recently i have seen CNG Volvo buses in Navi Mumbai ( NMMT ).

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/attach...-cng-volvo.jpg
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