Mumbai: Within a week of its launch, around 25,000 Mumbaiites availed of the all-night Ganesh darshan bus services started by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST). A first, BEST provided hop-on hop-off (HOHO) bus services from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Wadala depot via Lalbaug and Dadar at ₹60.
From September 3 till September 8, from 10pm till 6am, there were bus services at intervals of 25 minutes. Provision for a tour on the open deck heritage buses was also made available during this period.
Around 1,726 people availed HOHO and open deck heritage bus tours, while 25,000 visited Ganesh pandals across the city with the help of the BEST all-night bus service.
“On the first night, around 500 passengers made use of these services while overall 4,000 passengers used this service on the second night,” said Manoj Varade, public relations officer, BEST.
This HOHO bus service was available for ordinary, limited as well as air-conditioned bus services that operate during night hours. “We had started this service keeping in mind the devotees who can break their journey for Ganesh Darshan at a particular pandal and hop on to a different bus to the next Ganesh pandal and continue with the Ganesh darshan,” said Lokesh Chandra, general manager, BEST.
“The response for these services has been overwhelming and we shall increase such provisions keeping in mind the requirements of the commuters going forward. This year the excitement was double among the devotees as they are visiting after a gap of two years,” added Chandra.
Commuters could purchase the ₹60 pass which is valid for a night and use it to change buses across the city. “At night there are fewer chances of being stuck in traffic or long queues, so I visited a few pandals along with my friends last week making it very convenient to travel at a nominal price. We could evade the night-time taxi charges,” said Shaurya Aggarwal, 38, who visited Ganesh pandals at Dadar and Byculla areas through these bus services.
BEST earned a revenue of ₹4.60 lakh through all night buses during Ganesh Utsav.