Mumbai bids adieu to its iconic red double-decker buses, today

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By Archana Ajith

Mumbai’s famous red double-decker buses are saying goodbye today, marking a big change in the city’s transportation. These iconic buses have been a part of Mumbai’s streets for many years, but now, they’re making room for a new type of eco-friendly transportation – electric double-decker buses.

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking has officially announced that the old red double-decker buses are retiring, and today is their last day on the road. The open double-decker buses will also be gone from the city by the first week of October.

A spokesperson from BEST said, “Right now, we only have seven double-decker buses left, including three open-top ones. These buses have served for 15 years, so the red double-decker buses are saying goodbye today, and the open ones will go on October 5.”

But the departure of these buses hasn’t gone unnoticed by Mumbai’s dedicated groups of commuters and bus lovers. They’re asking BEST to keep at least two of these special buses at the Anik depot-based museum. They’ve written letters to the Maharashtra Chief Minister, the tourism minister, and the BEST administration to stress how important these buses are to the city’s culture and history.

Back in the early 1990s, BEST had nearly 900 double-decker buses, but that number dropped after the mid-’90s. The red double-decker buses have been a symbol of Mumbai since they first appeared in 1937 and even appeared in Bollywood songs.

After 2008, BEST stopped adding more double-decker buses. But this year, they took a big step by replacing these iconic buses with rented battery-powered red and black double-decker buses. About 25 of these eco-friendly buses are already on the streets, showing Mumbai’s commitment to a greener future.

BEST has also shared plans to get open-top buses for sightseeing, making the city’s public transportation even better. Until then, the new battery-powered double-decker e-buses will serve both locals and tourists, providing a more comfortable and eco-friendly way to explore Mumbai’s lively streets.

As the old red double-decker buses say goodbye, they leave behind memories, nostalgia, and a legacy that will always be in the hearts of Mumbaikars.

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