First ride on BEST's King Long!

My recent visit to Mumbai had a very huge surprise in store for me! BEST is now operating an Air Conditioned bus service to Navi Mumbai. The service is between Bandra-Kurla Complex and CBD Belapur on Route number "A-505". I decided to try out the service this time. I checked out the timing of the bus service at Belapur on 21-May evening. The bus was at 19.05. I had some other works - just finished it off and headed back to the bus station - but was literally shocked to see what was in store for me! It was this:

BEST is running a King Long to Navi Mumbai! The bus was MH-01-LA-6090 (1110/A). The bus was based at Anik Depot (near Sion in Mumbai). The bus was heading off to Sion in the evening. I walked around taking a few pics of the bus.

The driver came around, and opened the door of the bus for the passengers. The bus was left on, and the doors were closed. I entered the bus, and it was chilling inside! The interiors of the bus was awesome, and the windows were really huge in size!

The bus started off at 19.05 sharp from the bus station. There was one non-AC bus on the same route (505 Limited) right behind my bus. The bus driver had a convenient run across the small ghat between Belapur and Nerul. The other bus lost the race here. We then made a rather slow run to Nerul. Occupancy was rather poor in the bus, with just about 40% occupancy in the 47 seater bus. I took a ticket to Vashi - It cost me Rs. 15 (A limited stop bus charges Rs 6 for the same distance). The AC was cooling really effectively.

The non-AC bus overtook us at Nerul. Our driver was driver on 3rd gear when the situation demanded the second gear! The driver decided not to take the overtake lying down, and he floored the accelerator pedal! The bus hit a comfortable 70kmph is no time! He hit a top speed of about 80 kmph on the highway comfortably! He then had to decelerate due to traffic conditions!

The ride from Belapur to Vashi took about 20 minutes due to traffic. The bus picked up quite a lot of passengers at APMC, and all seemed to be regular passengers. The conductor said that only 1 King Long was run on the route, while the other buses were normal Leyland AC buses. I was a bit sad to get off the bus at Vashi. Just before getting down from the bus, got to have some chat with the driver. He was happy driving the bus, but was a bit sad about the gear shift. The bus had 6 gears and was a Manual transmission one. He said some of the newer ones had automatic transmission!

The AC was cooling too effectively that the temperature inside the bus was 18.3 degrees celsius! It was about 35 outside!!! I got off the bus at Vashi bus station. The bus made a hell lot of noise outside, but was very very silent inside!!! Overall a good challenge to Volvo! I sincerely look forward to make another trip on it soon! (A comparision of this bus to the Volvo would come very soon!).


P Munshi said…
Interesting.. However, BEST's commitment to these AC Buses in today times of high petrol costs, is definitely suspect. I recently wanted to try out their new service (A-6) between Lokhandwala and BKC, which was introduced just a month or so ago, and found out it had already been discontinued.

Apparently, regulars on the route were very unhappy with the service because BEST started the first bus from Oshiwara at 8:30 am instead of 7 am - so no one could ever reach offices on time!

Nor were any efforts taken to popularise/ advertise this service. Not many even knew such a service existed!

And since there were less patrons, BEST promptly discontinued the service.

Makes one wonder whether there are other criteria for launching the services...
Aristarkhos said…
These buses run on CNG...not petrol.
And regular BEST buses run on diesel.
satish said…
I used your pic of the Kinglong bus for a post w.r.t the BEST accident.
Do let me know if you have any issues.

cheers mate,

Anonymous said…
I dont know about you guys but i am in favour of NMMT,i mean just compare the looks of the BEST-china buses with NMMT-volvo,there is a huge difference in the looks,the feel,honestly BEST-china buses look ugly,and if you have been to Delhi,which has Tata starbuses,even those buses look better than BEST,some guy on another blog said BEST wins in this competition because it charges 50%more than NMMT,so considering maintainence and other stuff BEST is making a sustainble profit,though i dont get the point of it,i have seen people liking the NMMT-volvos and personally when I look at those red beauties the first thing that comes into my mind is what if someone hits the bus,i mean im ashamed but this is probably the first time i had feeling for public property,the looks,the way it rides,the design,none of it matches the BEST buses,and just to clarify,even if the console show 18.3c or what ever,thats the not true temperature,18c maybe near the vents of the AC outflow but not in the whole bus,it is practically impossible for a public bus AC to bring down temperatures to such lows

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