Buses once again came to the rescue of Mumbaikars on Monday as part of the Break The Chain guidelines. Trains being off limits for people, the burden fell mainly on the BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) and Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses. With government and private offices allowed to operate at 50 per cent attendance, queues were seen outside bus stops on June 7 morning. Railway stations too, saw an increased footfall. However, the authorities had posted ticket checkers and policemen to ensure only those providing essential services entered.
Railway officials agreed that stations, especially in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, saw more people queuing for tickets. Such cases were seen beyond Borivali to Virar-Dahanu on the Western Railway and Thane to Kalyan/Karjat/Kasara on the Central Railway. “Crowd gathered outside railway stations and ticket booking counters. At ticket windows too, there were instances of arguments,” said Vandana Sonawane of Maharashtra Railway Mahila Pravasi Sanghatana and member of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee.
Railway officials claim that they managed to control the crowd and there was no need for additional train services. “Our ticket checking staff and railway police ensured that the public were checked thoroughly for their IDs and tickets,” said a railway official.
Trains are currently allowing only those who are providing essential services. Government and private offices have been allowed to function till 4pm on working days with office attendance of 50 per cent.
BEST and MSRTC, on the other hand, played a crucial role in ferrying people in Mumbai and MMR. “Our buses started services at 5am. We operated 400 buses in Mumbai and MMR with 1,500 trips. There was considerable demand for our buses,” said an official from MSRTC.
They operated ST buses from various parts of MMR, like Thane, Kalyan, Bhiwandi, Vasai, Virar and Panvel to Mumbai. Meanwhile, BEST too wasn’t far behind and operated a majority of its bus fleet. “We operated 3,344 buses on Monday. There wasn’t much problem on the ground though. People were seen waiting at bus stops, as the bus frequency was good,” said a BEST official. In Mumbai, all passengers have been permitted to travel by BEST buses, though the number of passengers will not be more than the number of seats and standees will not be allowed.