At the end of an era, double-decker buses, which have been the heart of Mumbai, will finally take off from the streets of Mumbai. Beginning in the first week of October, the open-deck double-decker buses, which are quite popular among tourists for sightseeing since the 1990s will also no longer be seen on city streets.
The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) spokesperson said “Currently, just seven double-decker buses, including three open-deck buses are left in the BEST’s fleet. As these vehicles are completing 15 years of their coral life, the double-decker buses will forever go off roads from September 15, while the open-deck buses will be pulled out on October 5.”
History of Double Decker Buses in Mumbai
Britishers were the ones who introduced double-decker buses in India in 1937. But Mumbai was not the first city; it was Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram where these double-decker buses were introduced. Then later in the year, City of Dreams Mumbai got its first set of motorized double-decker buses.
However, London was the first city in the whole world where these double-decker buses were introduced in 1932. They became largely popular in London, and later they were introduced in India.
By the time of Independence, there were 242 double-decker buses on the Bombay roads of Mumbai, which served as an important means of transport for the growing population of Mumbai during the year 1947.
After that, several double-decker buses were introduced in other parts of India, like Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, and others. But only the double-decker buses of Mumbai were painted red.
Why are double-decker buses taken off from Mumbai Streets?
One of the biggest reasons that BEST has stopped inducting double-decker buses since 2008 is the high operating cost of these buses. Since the beginning of February this year, the BEST administration has started replacing the iconic red double-decker buses with leased battery-run red and black double-decker buses.
As per the latest update so far, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) administration has introduced 25 battery-run red and black double-decker buses in the city. Also, BEST has said that they’re going to procure open-deck buses for sightseeing, and the process of acquiring them has already started.
Mumbaikars are not happy with the decision
The people of Mumbai certainly are not happy with the decision; they want the government to put the last two red double-decker buses on display at the BEST’s museum for tourists and future generations. Some of the commuters said the electric double-decker buses are comfortable but lack the elegance and sophistication of old red double-decker buses.
Harshad Joshi who calls himself a Bus enthusiast said, “As the new double-decker e-buses are air-conditioned, we will miss sitting in the front in the old buses and traveling with the breeze from the open windows on our faces.”
Certainly, the red doulble decker buses have their own charm, but for a sustainable future, the government needs to take the necessary actions. However, some of these buses need to be protected and preserved for tourist attractions and for future generations.