The adage “old is gold” aptly fits for people living in and around the coastal villages of Uttan near Bhayandar. With the so-called privately operated high-tech public transport system of the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) in limbo for the past couple of months, it’s the good old State Transport (ST) buses that have come to the rescue of harried commuters.
The bus services have remained grounded since March, 2020 due to the imposition of lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
After running just five out of the 70 buses on two out of the 17 routes following unlock, the private operator abruptly terminated the services from 14, August to 8 September, leaving countless commuters on the mercy of auto-rickshaws for their journey.
The much-hyped plans of operating the public transport authority on their own also went for a toss as the MBMC bowed down to some of the demands put forth by private operators on Thursday.
“We requested the state government to start ST buses in the region. While ST bus services are operating on the Uttan-Bhayandar route, efforts are on to increase frequency and also to resume services on other important routes like Thane, Borivali and Mira Road. It seems that some civic officials are acting on the behest of the politically backed private bus operator.” said Sena legislator- Pratap Sarnaik.
“ We are thankful to the ST authorities, but at the same time we are ashamed of the civic administration and their political masters who have not only left 70 buses to gather dust but have also left the workers and commuters to their fate.” said local corporator- Sharmila Bagaji.
Bus services failed to take off after around 350 workers started protesting against the agency for not paying their wages for the past five months even as MBMC continues to turn a blind eye to the deadlock.