Photographs By: Shyam Iyer
The BEST museum: Showcasing 100 years of our transport system!
If you ever wonder what the growth of public transport in the city has been like, just visit the BEST museum located at Anik Depot opposite IMAX theatre in Wadala. This museum was built to preserve the heritage of the BEST undertaking and educate people about the development of the transport and electrical supply in Mumbai.
The museum is a treasure trove for transport and heritage enthusiasts, with a number of old photographs (or reproductions of old photographs) and snippets about the setting up and running of the transport system, more than a hundred years ago. The exhibit tells the story of the growth of public transport, from the horse drawn trams of 1874, to the advent of electric trams in 1907. The first omnibuses were introduced in 1926 and the first special ‘sightseeing’ buses, which also ran in the same year, the earliest double decker buses began operations in 1937, and the modifications they endured over the years. Which eventually led to the buses we see on the roads today.
The museum was founded by P. D. Paranjape, a BEST officer who religiously collected bus tickets, engines, ticket-issuing machines from depots across the city. The museum was set-up in 1984 at BEST’s Kurla depot but later shifted to Anik depot in 1993. It also houses mini models of charming old BEST buses and ancient trams. From the earliest power meters, to old bus tickets, ticket dispensing machines, working models of miniature trams and buses, a host of archival photographs, and also a clay and plastic storyboard of how Bombay once thought of running underground local trains. Hand-written placards in Marathi and photographs are kept on display for public. Entry to the museum is free.
Afternoon D&C photographer Shyam Iyer captures the memorabilia of city's retired transport system at the museum.