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Public and urban transport strategy
UITP awards nominee

Digitisation, integrated mobility, and a 40% growth in bus ridership


  • Public and urban transport strategy
Elevator pitch
Digitisation was used to reduce operational costs, increase revenue, and give an overall better travel experience. Public transport is made reliable, efficient, commuter friendly, and environmentally friendly to achieve the vision of shared, clean, and connected mobility.
Project description

BEST has India’s largest fleet of buses, however this still ends up as a mere 21 buses for every 100,000 people, in contrast to the global benchmark of 60 buses.

This, coupled with quality and service challenges, namely an inadequate and ageing fleet; high operational and labour costs; as well as crumbling infrastructure has led to a decrease in bus ridership over the years by 50%.

In December 2021, we set out to innovate city bus travel and address these challenges through the adoption of technology. This was the first ever digital bus project of such scale and magnitude in India. Fleet upgrades were enacted through digitisation, contactless travel, and the launch of a National Common Mobility Card.

In brief, integrated mobility was the focus to realise significant changes to the passenger experience and ultimately increase ridership.

Innovative features

We launched the BEST Chalo app that lets users track buses in real-time, see crowd information, and buy digital tickets/passes.

Alongside this, the BEST Chalo Card was introduced, a tap-to-pay bus travel card which can be used on 100% digital buses (tap-in, tap-out). This is India’s first National Common Mobility Card for use on metros and buses. The new in-bus ticket devices and a comprehensive Automated Fare Collection System technology platform were introduced to reduce revenue leakage and optimise operations.

Our approach to integrated mobility focused on providing seamless door-to-door connectivity, in addition to various other measures:

  • Airport bus service
  • All night bus service
  • Electric bus fleet
  • First/last mile connectivity with e-bikes at major bus stops
  • Ladies special bus with women bus conductors
  • Mobile app
  • National Common Mobility Card
  • Premium AC buses

Impact features

Within 12 months of implementing the project, BEST has seen:

Cost reduction

15% of all daily revenue is now digital, resulting in much lower cash collection costs and burden. In fact, there are cost savings on paper rolls alone to the tune of $242,500 annually!

Daily average bus ridership up 40%

That’s more than the 3 month average prior to the project’s launch – not to mention higher than pre-COVID levels too.

Digital data

A better use of digital data enables better demand prediction and scheduling.

Direct impact on daily revenue

An increase from $200,000 pre-launch to $300,000 in 12 months – a 30% increase in revenue for BEST.

Economic contribution

More than 600,000 productive workdays saved each month in Mumbai.

  • 30% increase in revenue

    within 12 months of launch

  • 15% of revenue

    is now digital, leading to savings

  • 600,000 workdays

    saved each month across Mumbai alone

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