History of BEST Buses in MumbaiHow often have we seen the many aspects of Mumbai in our favourite Bollywood films and how many times have those Mumbai scenes portrayed the ‘BEST’ buses, conspicuously or inconspicuously, somewhere in them?
Timeline - The birth of BESTBelieve it or not, it was the little known tram service in Bombay that became one of the earliest precursors for the BEST company. A simplified timeline of the events that led to the creation of the present day Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, is presented below –
1873 – The responsibility of operating trams in Bombay was handed over to the Bombay Tramway Company Limited. This decision, made by the state administration, was lent an official look with the enactment of the Bombay Tramways Act, which came into existence in 1874.
1882 – Commercial activities were gradually gaining ground in the city of Bombay by this time, and provisions of electric lighting for Crawford Market – one of the most famous areas in the city in the olden days – were being discussed at several levels.
1899 – By this time, the issue of robust provisions of electricity in the various parts of Bombay had snowballed into a popular demand. The public clamour forced the Bombay Municipal Corporation to take over the Bombay Tramway Company, and initiate services of electrically operated trams.
1904 – The growing demand for electricity provided the ideal motivation to British electric suppliers to venture into the hitherto uncharted territory of Bombay.
1905 – The harmonious commercial association of the British Electric Traction Company, the Bombay Municipal Corporation and the Bombay Tramway Company resulted in the creation of the Bombay Electric Supply and Tramways Company Limited, abbreviated as B.E.S.T.
Buses in BombayWhile buses may have become one of the most popular modes of transport in the city today, they were considered to be exclusively belonging to the affluent classes during the first half of the 20th century.
After several rounds of official deliberation, the bus service in Bombay became a reality in July, 1926, - even though it did not become an instant hit, the new mode of transport in one of the most densely populated cities in India did create quite a stir among various classes of people.
Also See: Transportation in Mumbai
BEST in the Contemporary EraIt was with the advent of the Indian Independence that the Bombay Municipal Corporation took over the responsibility of delivering the services of BEST – and thus, the privately owned entity Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Company was under the municipality and renamed as Bombay Electric Supply and Transport
Facts you should know about the present day buses of BEST
- Automatic Fare Collection in buses in India was first introduced by BEST, in 2004, on the route SPL- 4 that connects World Trade Centre and Churchgate.
- The company currently possesses more than 1500 environment friendly buses, operated on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
- This was one of the first companies in India to introduce Kinglong AC buses.
- Audio-visual surveillance systems are presently installed in all the buses operated by BEST – a move that was apparently triggered by the infamous 9/11 terrorist bombings in the city