One of the most iconic elements of Mumbai are the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) buses, also colloquially called ‘Red boxes’ – but often in a derogatory way. 

With a fleet of around 4,700 buses, the service is considered the lifeline of Mumbai.

These red-and-white buses, plying the city since 1947, have even been celebrated in some famous Bollywood song sequences:

But, for the first time, the buses might undergo a colour change to make it look more trendy and youthful

The enterprise has written to Mumbai’s prestigious college – Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts – to help them out with a new logo design and colour combinations, reports Mumbai Mirror.

And it doesn’t stop there. Even the bus drivers and conductors will reportedly be getting a new uniform. As part of their re-branding exercise, bus passes will be available at any spot and for a much cheaper rate, BEST Committee chairperson Mohan Mithbavkar of the BJP told Mumbai Mirror. He added, “The quality of the buses will improve. There will be massive reorganisation of routes and loss-making ones will be scrapped.”

But here’s why this makeover might be a bad idea:

  • It comes at a time when the BEST is already crippled with a Rs 2,250 crore debt
  • The bus service is so deeply associated with the existing colours that it might hit the brand. By the way, the red colour of these buses was inspired by the British as the buses in London were coloured red
  • The makeover seems superficial because the service runs up a loss of Rs 2.26 crore every day it operates. It’s very survival is at stake as it is struggling with dwindling number of passengers, and a steady rise in loss-making routes. It doesn’t seem like a cosmetic change wouldt shake up the things too much

(Feature image source: Twitter | @tv9gujarati)