CR has awarded a three month contract to the appbased bus service AllMiles.CR will allot it around 100 sqft of space outside each of the two terminals. Commuters can reserve seats on the All Miles app. “It is the first such initiative for Indian Railways, earning it Rs 2.2 lakh in non-fare revenue,” said a CR official.
AllMiles founder-CEO Utkarsh Dabhade said, “We are not going to compete with BEST as their fares are Rs 5 for 5 km. Ours is going to be slightly costlier. We will operate on specific routes on a monthly pass system.”
The fare is expected to be Rs 4.5-5 per km. “We are trying to rope in corporates in office hubs like Ballard Pier, Nariman Point , Stock Exchange area, Churchgate, etc, whose employees can board these buses.”
The app buses will be AC with a seating capacity of 12-15. There will be no standees. The service is likely to be rolled out in a month.
A CR official said the frequency of app buses during the morning and peak hour will be 10-15 minutes.
A top BEST official said, “Public transport buses run by BEST should be given priority on roads and outside stations.”
Shrikant More, a regular bus traveller, welcomed CR’s move. “On several occasions, we have to stand in long queues outside CSMT to board a BEST bus. I hope app buses ensure seamless travel.”
Dipti Jain, who works in Churchgate, said she did not mind paying more if app buses provided better service than BEST. But the move has come as a surprise to BEST, which is trying to introduce 1,200 AC minibuses on feeder routes outside railway stations, specially at Kurla and CSMT.
BEST officials said there already are several shortroute BEST services from CSMT, with single-decker, AC mini, Tejaswini and double-decker buses. “We will have to probe if any private operator is eating into our business, and will take appropriate action,” an official said.