Mission Begin Again: Most of working Mumbai rues the day, yet again

The fact that the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking had added more than 150 buses to its operating fleet barely made a difference

FPJ BureauUpdated: Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 11:50 PM IST
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Long queue for the bus at Sion. | BL SONI

Mumbai: Day 3 of 'Mission Begin Again' was once again a day of suffering for the 10 per cent of Mumbaikars reporting to work from Monday. The fact that the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking had added more than 150 buses to its operating fleet barely made a difference. For the third day in a row, long queues were seen at bus stops on Wednesday, an indicator of the poor frequency of services in all parts of the city. Tired of waiting for hours, many Mumbaikars went back home yet another day, unable to make it to work. It was the same story from Virar to Vashi.

Anish Shaikh (self-employed)

Today (Wednesday), for the third time, I couldn’t go to work. I had to go to Dharavi from Mulund and waited more than two hours for a BEST bus, but not one showed up. I did not have enough money for a cab and had to go back home, like I did on Monday and Tuesday. I am self-employed and by being unable to reach my place of work, I am suffering losses. Already, we have all suffered immense losses due in the lockdown. How much more can we take?

Renu Sharma (banker)

Being a banking professional, I have been working throughout the lockdown. From Bhayandar to Seepz, Andheri, where my office is, it would take me 45 minutes by a direct bus. Now, after private offices have opened, I spend an hour or 1.5 hours only waiting in the bus queue, where there is no social distancing followed. Even without keeping a distance, the queue gets so long. The 45-minute journey now takes about two hours. And there is no seat available, I am forced to stand as far as Kandivli. Earlier, the bus frequency was one per hour. But recently, while waiting to go home, I was standing from 4pm to 5.30pm, but there was no bus. Earlier, the buses would be sanitised after every trip. Now, it seems as if that is not happening. It is scary now, as we now have to worry whether the previous user of the seat was infected. If I don't get a direct bus, I have to change three buses to get to office.

Amit Pal (digital e-commerce manager)

I live in Mulund and have an office at Hiranandani, Powai. Before the lockdown, it took around 1.5 hrs to reach office and now, it takes about 3.5 - 4 hours even when there is no traffic on most of the road. Most of my time is spent at the bus stop, waiting to board a bus which will at least have enough standing room. Since most buses come from Thane, they are mostly packed and I do not want to risk boarding them. So I continue to wait. Autos and taxis are of no use. The government must improve public transport or at least arrange alternatives.

Hritik Kagda (banker)Since there are no local trains, all commuters are left to the mercy of BEST, which is only operating a limited number of buses. Now, to board a bus and reach Andheri (from Mulund) is quite a big task in the present time. It takes me at least an hour-and-a-half extra, to and fro. I am not even talking of how crowded the buses are. The whole exercise is fraught with risk but what other option do we have?

Ajinkya Jadhav (manager, BKC office)

Traveling from Mulund to the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) has been a blissful experience so far, in the past 10 days that I resumed work. I leave home at 8am daily and leave office at 5.30pm and my commute time has been less than 25 minutes, for the 18km journey each way. Before the lockdown, this journey took hours.

'Regular pain' areas, where maximum traffic jams were experienced each day, like the Vikhroli WEH Signal, Chedda Nagar and Kapadia Nagar Junctions are totally decongested these days.

For those coming to work in personal vehicles, our organisation has restricted travel to just one person, other than the driver. A pulse oximeter and thermometers are used at the parking entrance and in the office lobby. Aarogya Setu app has been made mandatory. Yes, it is a risk travelling when the coronavirus scare is still very much around, but if we are alert and take precautions, things should be fine.

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