MBMC threatens to blacklist obstinate private bus operators

Mira-Bhayandar: After treating the private bus operator with kid gloves, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) has finally decided to act tough by giving them an ultimatum to resume services in the twin-cities or get prepared to face action.

The bus fleet operated by private operator under MBMC’s public transport system has remained suspended for the past four months owing to restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus in the twin-cities since March. Although a few buses were plying for ferrying staffers including health workers, medicos and those on emergency duties to combat coronavirus.

Under the state government’s Mission Begin Again plan, the civic administration has also embarked on the unlock journey by offering relaxations in a phased manner to the business establishments and other modes of travel like auto-rickshaws and private cabs.

In view of the difficulty faced by the local populace, a delegation of Shiv Sena leaders led by Prabhakar Mhatre and Neelam Dhawan met the MBMC chief seeking resumption of bus services. However, adamant on finalizing the fare structure due to revised sitting arrangements, the private operator has been reluctant to initiate the services. Stung by the stubbornness of the operator, the civic administration has now decided to blacklist the company if it failed to restart buses and mitigate the hardships faced by local commuters.

“Yes, we have asked the operator to resume services in adherence to distancing norms with immediate effect or face action,” confirmed, deputy civic chief Ajit Muthe.

While the normal sitting capacity of a bus is 44 passengers, 19 are allowed to stand. As per new norms, the buses will be allowed 50 per cent accommodation.

Last year, the MBMC signed an 8-year Net Cost Contract with an agency 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. Presently, the MBMC has a fleet of 70 buses which operate on 17 different routes in and out of the twin-city.

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