So given all that, you'd think BEST would have produced a good bus route map, one that will tell you how to get from here to elsewhere. And you'd be correct. Three years ago, somebody gifted me the official BEST route map, actually two maps ("City" and "Suburbs") priced at an excellent Rs 20 each.
And how do you use these maps?
Well, a few days ago I wanted to find out how to get from Thakurdwar to Versova. Here's how this went, following the instructions printed in the maps.
1) Locate the bus stop closest to your starting point. Every stop in the city is marked on the map with a red dot, and given a number. So I found a bus stop in the heart of Thakurdwar in the "City" map, #1622 of a total of 1760. (The numbers are assigned after listing the bus stops alphabetically).
2) Consult the list of bus stops and find your bus stop, #1622 in this case. This list is printed on the reverse of the map. Only, there's not enough space on the reverse to list all stops, so in this case #1622 is listed on the reverse of, not the "City" map, but the "Suburbs" map. Even though #1622, in Thakurdwar, is smack in the middle of the "City" map. You'd think the obvious thing would be to list the stops that are on a given map on the reverse of that map, but no.
3) Listed against your bus stop are the bus route numbers that halt there. In this case: 41, 59, 61, 65, 66, 66EXT, 68, 69, 88, 103, 107, 121, 126, 127, 132, 133.
4) Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 with your destination. In my case, this was a stop in Versova in the "Suburbs" map, #831, listed on the reverse of the "City" map, with these route numbers that halt there: 200, 210LTD, 222, 236, 250, 252, 255LTD, 328, 330LTD, 425EXP.
5) Now find the route numbers that are common to the source and destination lists. Those are the buses that you can take from source to destination.
In this case: None. (Check for yourself).
That's it. There's no way to find out about changing buses to travel the route want, nothing. All my route maps have told me is that there is no direct bus from Thakurdwar to Versova.
They were excellent at giving me this bit of information that is of no help to me.
Now perhaps you don't quite believe me, perhaps you think I'm not using the maps properly?
Well, here are the instructions as printed on the map, verbatim:
The starting point and the destination of the passenger should be related to the nearest bus stop by referring to the map and the bus stop number. A list of stops in alphabetical order with their nos & all the routes passing through a stop are given overleaf. The passenger should select the route(s) which are common in the list of routes passing through the starting stop and destination stop e.g. a passenger wanting to travel from Ballard Pier (Stop No. 136) to Khodadad Circle (Stop No. 762) would notice that these stops are located in square D13 & B10 respectively of the map & route Nos 66 & 43 are common routes passing through bus stops No. 136 (Ballard Pier) & No 762 (Khodadad Circle). Therefore by taking either of these two routes he would be able to reach his destination.