As Mumbaikars bid farewell to the ultimate diesel-powered double-decker bus operated by the Brihanmumbai Electrical Provide and Transport (BEST) endeavor, commuters and employees members fondly recalled their experiences aboard this iconic pink car that had change into synonymous with the town itself.
“Hello, Mumbai Police? I’d like to report the theft of one of my most important childhood memories,” wrote industrialist Anand Mahindra on ‘X’, echoing the loss felt by many Mumbaikars. The bus began its last journey on route 415 from the Andheri railway station to SEEPZ village within the western suburbs round 11.05 pm on Friday.
After reaching the vacation spot, it headed for Marol depot of BEST.”I had a memorable journey with the double-decker bus for 15 years. It was ‘Mumbai ki shaan’ (Mumbai’s pleasure) and we aren’t going to see it once more. We distributed outdated tickets to commuters in the course of the last journey as a particular ticket,” mentioned Gopal Sutake, the conductor of the 415 route bus.
The period of pink diesel-run double-deckers, launched on the town streets 86 years in the past, thus got here to an finish. New, shiny red-and-black battery-operated (EV) double-deckers have already begun to ply since February this yr.
Nonetheless, three open-deck diesel-run double-deckers used for sightseeing excursions in South Mumbai are nonetheless in operation. These buses will go off the street on October 5, BEST officers mentioned.
Adorned with vibrant flower garlands and vibrant balloons, the ultimate diesel-powered double-decker bus made its departure from BEST’s Marol depot on a Friday morning, turning into the centre of consideration for onlookers all through the day. Passersby had been captivated by the sight, eagerly snapping images and taking selfies each inside and out of doors the bus.
“Bye bye #doubledecker buses. a lovely way to travel parts of the city. Nothing compares on the road not even my #Audi #Mumbai,” wrote Anand Sivashankar on ‘X’.Members of the commuter group ‘Aapali BEST Aaplyasathi’ and some bus lovers had been current at Andheri East to bid farewell to the double-decker on its final journey.
Rupesh Shelatkar, president of ‘Aapali BEST Aaplyasathi’, instructed PTI that other than widespread residents, celebrities like Junior Mehmood, a well-known Bollywood actor, had been additionally current there.
A cake was lower by the hands of BEST drivers and conductors. The passengers and assembled bus lovers clapped their fingers and expressed gratitude for the bus.
Shelatkar mentioned that the bus was working full all through the day as many individuals needed to journey on it for one final time. Some needed to expertise the nostalgia of sitting within the entrance seat on the higher deck and having fun with the cool breeze.
“Since the iconic double-decker buses served Mumbai for the last 86 years, we wanted to give it a grand farewell as gratitude and we were really overwhelmed. But we urge the BEST administration to preserve at least a couple of these old double-decker buses in its museum, considering the love of Mumbaikars for this model,” he mentioned.
The bus was to make its final journey from Andheri East at 9.19 pm, however because of public demand, BEST ran some additional companies, he mentioned.
It was an emotional day for Yash Vinay Surve, one of many commuters who took the ultimate journey.” I’ve spent my childhood having fun with rides in double-decker buses. We have now requested the BEST administration to maintain at the least one bus of every mannequin at its museum in Anik depot,” he mentioned.
The primary double-decker bus was launched on Mumbai roads in 1937, a decade after BEST launched its bus service within the rising metropolis. Until the mid-Nineties, BEST had round 900 double-decker buses in its fleet. The quantity started to lower and round 125 buses had been left in 2010. By 2019, it had dwindled to 50.
“A total of 900 air-conditioned double-decker bus services will be provided to the people of Mumbai by the end of July 2024,” the BEST mentioned in its launch.
“Since the newly-introduced buses are air-conditioned and electric, the future generations will miss out on the joy of racing up the stairs to get a seat on the top deck and enjoying the view with the breeze hitting faces,” Varun Dikshit, a commuter mentioned.
One other commuter Santoshi Mishra created a particular reminiscence along with her daughter by taking the final journey on the bus from SEEPZ.”I’ve so many reminiscences of travelling within the double-decker bus as a baby with my father. I can’t get these days again.
However I created a particular reminiscence with my daughter as we took a journey on the bus from SEEPZ. She performed my favorite tune “Ae dil hain mushkil jeena yaha, Jara hatke jara bachke ye hain Bombay meri jaan” on her flute throughout our final journey on the bus,” she mentioned.