As the maximum city has cautiously begun reopening itself after a four-month long hiatus, BrihanMumbai Electricity Supply and Transport’s (BEST) red buses are presently the only major mode of commute with a daily ridership of 10 lakh commutters. On Thursday afternoon, all stakeholders, including transport experts, commutters and activists, came together and discussed various prospects to improve its services for the commutters.
Transport expert and activist Sudheer Badami stated that the BEST can think of pressing micro bus services, as there is no other alternate mode of public transport available for commuters.
"Micro bus services would carry maximum 10 passengers at a time in a short distance. As the distance will be short, the frequency will be high and these buses can give last mile connectivity to the passengers," Badami stated. "Also, if BEST introduces long distance buses connecting various parts of the city, it would be able to cater to more people at one time," he added.
Ajay Kumar, a specially-abled social worker and regular commuter in BEST buses, stated that BEST buses should increase the number of reserved seats for the specially-able to four from two. "BEST can increase the number of reserved seats for specially-abled from two to four, with two seats near the front and rear door of the buses," stated Kumar.
Also, stressing on the fact that differently-abled people can't have their own vehicle, Kumar said BEST must add more buses in the fleet. "Having more buses will make transport accessible for the disabled, as they cannot have their own vehicle," Kumar stated.
City-based professor Ankita Gujar stated that the administration needs to rework the development policies and make sure development and public welfare goes hand in hand. "The Bandra Worli Sea link is meant to cut off travel time from South Mumbai and North Mumbai by half. However, only those having private vehicles and taxis can travel through this route. This is making mobility accessible to those who already have it, while it deprives the other half of the society," stated Gujar.
"As BEST is an undertaking of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and state government, the administration needs to consider adding more buses to its fleet to improve frequency. Those who travel by bus spend more than 2 hours on commute, which deprives them of leisure," she added.