New Delhi: The iconic double-decker buses that have been running in Mumbai since the colonial days, are likely to go off the roads by nearly 60 per cent within a year, announced Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) Company Ltd.

One of Mumbai’s archetypal icons, at least 120 double-deckers will be phased down to just 48 by, the rest of which will be replaced with single-decker buses.

The decision by BEST came after the transport company has been facing trouble with the maintenance as the double-decker buses cost them twice the price compared to the normal ones. Further, it also requires more manpower to operate them, an official of the BEST stated.

The London-inspired double-decker buses were first brought to the country in 1937, undertaken by BEST as horse-drawn vehicles. As industrialisation overtook transportation in India, the horses were replaced with engines on wheels.

Remarkably, the double-decker fleet that started with about 200 buses grew up to 882 in 1993.

The BEST has a total fleet of 3,337 buses and has proposed adding 993 buses to its fleet, to increase the overall size to 4,050 by 2020.

Presently, there are 120 operational double-decker buses on seven routes around the city. Mumbai is the only city where you can find this colonial icon, although the Kolkata transport department has planned its comeback to invite more tourists.