End of an Era: Mumbai's iconic 86-year-old double-decker buses to retire on September 15, 2023
After the decision to scrap Nilambari open-deck tourist buses, Mumbai's iconic red double-decker buses are now set to be taken off the streets. According to an announcement by Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), these age-old buses will be taken off Mumbai roads after September 15, 2023.
BEST has been operating double-decker buses in Mumbai since 1937
Running in Mumbai since 1937, these double-decker buses by BEST once used to rule the Mumbai roads. In fact, the BEST double-decker fleet contained as many as 242 buses. Today, the fleet has only 5 buses, which will now be phased out.
For Mumbaikars, these buses are much more than just a mode of transport. They carry huge nostalgic importance and represent the 'good old times' for many locals. Additionally, since BEST has decided to do away with the iconic Nilambari buses as well in October, it has evoked the feelings of heartbreaks among many Mumbaikars.
In a conversation with Knocksense, Eric Gonsalves, a resident of Dadar, mentioned, "I fondly remember the times when we would sit in the front seat of the upper deck, which provided spellbinding views of the Marine Drive. I am going to miss seeing these ruby beauties gracing the roads."
Ushering a new era of Mumbai double-deckers
All is not lost for fans of double-decker buses in Mumbai, though. That's because BEST is planning to introduce new double-decker electric AC buses for tourist purposes. According to initial reports, these new double-deckers will be eco-friendly and a number of convenient facilities, like mobile charging ports, will be included.
As they say, eras come and go. For the old-timey double decker buses in Mumbai, this seems to be it. But the new BEST buses might just carry forward the legacy and retain the charm of Mumbai darshan among tourists and locals alike.