Mumbai: Last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced it would issue free bus passes to students of civic schools. However, it is almost three months since the new academic year has begun but students of BMC schools have yet to be issued their free passes. The idea behind these free passes is to enable students to reach school and save on travel expenses. The bus pass was supposed to be included in the list of 27 items which are given free to every civic school student. In addition to the travel pass, students are also awaiting school uniforms, bags, books, shoes, sandals and rainwear.
Parents are aggrieved at this state of affairs. Hemant Patil, a parent said, “Three months have already passed and our children are paying to travel every day. They have not yet received their bus passes.” Zora Asim, another parent said, “Most of us have weak financial backgrounds so we struggle to meet daily expenses. The BMC should not promise something which it cannot fulfil.”
Over 87 per cent students of BMC schools use the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) Undertaking bus for their daily commute. These students and parents use public transport as it is economical. Kirti Jagtap, a parent said, “We cannot afford to travel by autorickshaw every day as it very expensive. We prefer to drop our kids by bus as it is easier, cheaper and has good frequency.” Last year, a senior civic official had said, “We will provide free bus passes so that students can travel for free. They will not have to pay for the ticket and will thus save money.”