Another day on a Double-decker
I took BEST's route number 311 from Kurla Station (West) Bus Terminus. That was a double-decker bus, and I sat on the upper deck. The outbound journey was with my friends. I returned alone.
While returning, I took 311 once again and once again sat on the upper deck that too at the seat at the front end. The seat was airy, and you see the road from a totally different perspective. Cars look quite dwarfed. Even normal buses look small from there. The ride gives a totally different experience!!! I was carrying my camera along, and took photos from that seat! (The image above is an example!).
Some facts about the bus:
The bus is powered by a Ashok Leyland-Hino "H" Series 6 Cylinder engine, and produces a maximum torque of 42 Mkg @ 1600-1800 rpm. The bus has a top speed of 75 kilometres-per-hour. Newer models are Euro-II (Locally known as "Bharat 2") compliant.
The bus has a different style of operation. The driver sits in a very small cubicle. The engine is outside his cabin. The bus, unlike normal buses, has two signal bells. One on the upper deck, and one on the lower deck. There are individual conductors for each deck. The conductor on the upper deck rings the bell there to inform the conductor on the lower deck that there are passengers to alight. The conductor on the lower deck waits until all have alighted, and then rings the bell twice to permit the driver to proceed.
Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (B.E.S.&T.) has about 199 double decker buses in its 3400 strong fleet. These buses can carry about 100 passengers (officially!). Currently, only 2-3 cities in India have such buses, and Mumbai has most of them! There was a move to scrap them owing to higher operational costs, but due to public outcry the buses are now allowed to continue! Infact, BEST had even purchased a few new ones recently!