The BEST for Mumbai
Mumbaikars share their vision of a modern, sustainable public transport system for a resilient Mumbai.
Used by over 30 lakh Mumbaikars daily, the 92-year old BEST bus service is the second-largest mass transportation system in the city. The recently launched Mumbai Climate Action Plan has bus-based public transport as one its core areas to improve the city’s livability and resilience.
On this World Environment Day, the Ministry of Mumbai’s Magic (MMM) collaborated with No Footprints to bring together diverse Mumbaikars to facilitate a conversation on the importance of public mobility for the city’s climate ambition. Over 30 Mumbaikars joined a time travel journey aboard an open BEST bus to explore the evolution of sustainable public mobility starting from the 17th century to now! With nostalgia and cultural past as the narrative thread, the tour brought to light BEST’s iconic past as the backbone of the city and its promising future with the electrification of its fleet as a core element of Mumbai’s sustainability vision outlined in the Mumbai Climate Action Plan (MCAP).
Guided by R Venkatesh, and hosted by No Footprints with the Ministry of Mumbai’s Magic, the tour traced the history of public mobility and the ethos of sustainability as the heartline of a behemoth city like Mumbai. Through storytelling and conversations, participants learned about the evolution of the concept of sustainable mobility in the last 200 years - whether it was the incident of the fort being brought down to open up the city for comfortable commuting or a beautiful railway station at Colaba being destroyed for housing priorities, or the latest MCAP that proposes an efficient public mobility as a climate solution.
During the tour, MMM team opened a discussion about the role of public mobility as a lever for Mumbai’s livability. We also spoke about the Mumbai Climate Action Plan, a 30-year roadmap to prepare the city and its citizens from the impacts of the worsening climate crisis. Arpita, from the team, highlighted the goals of MCAP to electrify the entire BEST bus fleet by 2028 in an effort for providing climate friendly transport that will contribute to tackling major livability issues for Mumbai like congestion and air pollution.
The BEST bus tour included these cultural and historical hotspots in the South Mumbai area invoking Mumbaikar’s sense of nostalgia and pride. The different landmarks drew people’s attention to the role of governance (Mantralaya), the legal system (Bombay High Court), freight (Ballard Pier), culture (Museum of India Cinema), education (Mumbai University), urban planning (Worli sea link), communities (Marine Drive) and urban legends (Mahalaxmi Racecourse) in the story of Mumbai’s sustainable mobility.
The tour concluded at the historical BEST Museum giving patrons the chance to walk down memory lane to witness firsthand the humble beginnings of BEST with horse-drawn and electric trams till the modern bus design and the diverse ticketing systems and even a model of Mumbai’s 27 original bus depots. At the end, Mumbaikars shared their vision of a modern, sustainable public transport system for a resilient Mumbai.
Help shape the vision for sustainable transport in Mumbai
Getting Mumbaikers to prioritise public transport can help improve the quality of life across the city as it can play an important role in improving the air quality while alleviating traffic congestion - all while tackling the effects of climate change on the city.
You can help Mumbai get there!
Share your opinions on the questions below
How can BEST buses be further improved to increase accessibility across the city, ease commuting, and be seen as the preferred mode of transport?