MBMC bus services hit political roadblock

Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) is now under the scanner for giving a kids’ glove treatment to the private bus operator, allegedly on the behest of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rulers. After extended rounds of delay, Bhagirathi Trans Corporation (BTC), a private agency appointed by the MBMC, reluctantly agreed to resume the public transport facility from August 14. However, since then only five out of the 70 buses are operating on two out of the 17 routes, leaving 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 his terms by demanding a revised pricing structure due to the limited seating arrangements in accordance to the physical distancing rules that were in place to contain the spread of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Despite opposition, 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 the 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, MBMC signed an 8-year net cost contract with 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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