Mumbai bids farewell to iconic red-colored BEST buses

In a long overdue plan to refurbish its services, the BEST will introduce some new services like AC, free WiFi, real-time location and ETA in the new buses

Anyone who has ever been to Mumbai knows how intrinsic the Lal Dabba is to the city’s history. For Mumbaikars the red-colored Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) are their heritage, their legacy. As someone who grew up traveling in these buses, it is heart wrenching to learn that the iconic red-white color scheme will soon change to white-yellow.

In a long overdue plan to  refurbish its services, the BEST will introduce some new services like Air Conditioned buses, free WiFi inside the buses and at the bus stops, real-time location and expected time of arrival.  

In the last decade, the Lal Dabbas had witnessed a drastic drop in the number of daily commuters from 35 lakh to 28 lakh. And at a suggestion given by five students of JJ Institute of Applied Arts the BEST has designed a new color scheme and logo for the buses.

The new service will inaugurate with two white-yellow buses which will run on a trial from the Colaba depot. “We have received an approval from the Regional Transport Office to ply these two buses. Soon, we will decide the other routes to use these buses,” said Hanumant Gophane, BEST PRO.

Additionally, the BEST plans to launch a social media campaign to decide the color of the buses. The BEST will observe the general public reaction to the new scheme and then finally arrive at a decision. The officials have quoted that though the red colored buses have a nostalgia of old Bombay attached to them, the purpose of BEST is to provide world class services to its commuters.

What is worth noticing is that the present logo of the BEST buses also was designed by the students of JJ Institute of Applied Arts in 1960s. In a conversation with the students who designed the logo and new color scheme, Kanchan Gokhale, Pallavi Shedge, Samrusdhi Varade, Rajat Bhele and Gayatri Sohani, we asked them about their motivation for the project. “White is a very politically neutral color. And that was the sole reason for our choice,” they said.

Well, we are glad that the new scheme is neither orange nor green.