Mumbai: BEST conductors to verify COVID-19 vaccine certificates of passengers to allow travel

Mumbai: BEST conductors to verify COVID-19 vaccine certificates of passengers to allow travel

Shashank RaoUpdated: Monday, November 29, 2021, 10:12 PM IST
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Mumbai: Crowd at a bus stop near gateway of India | BL Soni/FPJ

New rules for travelling in public transport have been announced by Maharashtra government; but things will not that easy for conductors of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST). The Undertaking’s administration has asked the conductors to verify vaccine certificates of passengers which are likely to cause issues especially during peak hours.

On Monday, the BEST were supposed to start this exercise in a full-fledged manner however it is now expected to begin from November 30. “I have directed the conductors to check passengers for their certificates showing that they are fully vaccinated,” said General Manager Lokesh Chandra, BEST Undertaking.

There are around 10000 odd conductors in BEST and majority of them are currently given jobs of waiting at the bus stops and issue tickets to passengers. Now, they will be burdened with an additional job to inspect even the vaccine certificates of these passengers. The BEST is running 3415 buses in its fleet out of which majority of them are conductor-less buses.

“The job of the conductor is to issue tickets. How can one expect them to check vaccine certificates before issuing tickets?” questioned an employee of BEST Undertaking. Sources in the unions claim that on Monday at few locations across the city the conductor were seen checking passengers.

One of the problem is that there are chances that passengers might question these conductors over the authority of asking for vaccine certificates or ending up arguing about the same. According to sources in BEST the employees themselves aren’t fully vaccinated. At present 90 percent out of the 34000 odd total employees are fully vaccinated.

It also includes the drivers and conductors of BEST. Considering this situation, it would be tricky asking for vaccine certificates from passengers. At present there are 27-lakh odd passengers travelling in BEST buses on a daily basis.

Meanwhile the BEST will start hop-on, hop-off buses from December 2 which shall be inaugurated from Colaba depot. There shall be 10 such buses that will be introduced for this tourist friendly service.

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