Commuter woes in Mira Bhayandar: MBMC buses hit political roadblock
Anwesha Mitra

The Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) is yet again making headlines for all the wrong reasons, and is now under the scanner for treating a private bus operator with kid gloves allegedly at the behest of the BJP.

After extended rounds of delays, the Bhagirathi Trans Corporation (BTC) a private agency appointed by the MBMC had reluctantly agreed to resume the public transport facility from August 14. However, since then only five out of the 70 buses are operating on one or two of the 17 routes. This in turn has left countless commuters at the mercy of auto-rickshaws and private cabs for their journey in and out of the twin-city.

It has come to light that on the virtue of support by an influential political leader and the public transport committee, the private operator is dictating their own terms, demanding an exorbitant revised pricing structure due to the limited seating arrangements amid the pandemic. Physical distancing rules have been put in place to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Despite criticism by opposition members, the public transport committee is said to have agreed to dole out Rs. 42 per km to the operator, sources revealed.

All eyes are now on the civic chief who is empowered to finalise the revised pay structure.

The public transport system had remained suspended for the past four months owing to restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus in the twin-city since March. The operator is also under the scanner for not paying wages to his workforce who had launched an agitation on Monday.

Last year, the MBMC signed an eight-year Net Cost Contract with the BTC agreeing to pay Rs 26 per km for operating a fleet of 80 buses running at an average of 200 km per bus every day.

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