Mumbai commuters want BEST buses to ply on full seating capacity
BL SONI

Mumbai: Monday was the first working day after the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) undertaking started plying on Mumbai roads.

Commuters stated that the frequency of the buses had improved marginally, however, they also maintained that rush was same and one had to wait for nearly 45 minutes to one hour for buses during the peak hours.

"No matter how many bus the undertaking chooses to operate, the pressure on commuters won't ease because the roads are congested with private cars and buses," said Shekhar Sinha, a daily officegoer.

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has added 100 MSRTC buses to its fleet on wet lease in order to cater to high demand. The buses are being run on some of the busiest routes in the north-south corridor of the city, connecting the island city to the suburbs.

"During the afternoon the frequency of buses was decent, however, the frequency dropped during the peak office hours," said a bus station manager.

The BEST is operating its buses at 50 per cent capacity while MSRTC is operating buses at full seating occupancy. This has caused sheer inconvenience to the commuters.

"If the government is not starting local trains soon, then they must allow buses to operate at full seating capacity," said Kamlesh Patel, a salesman.

"At times, it becomes confusing, some buses are carrying only 30 passengers while some of the buses are taking in 50 passengers. The whole system appears to be poorly planned," said Gautam Mengale, a private employee.

BEST staffers have also asserted that adhering to distancing rules, becomes difficult due to the standees.

"The standees should be curtailed and passengers need to be allowed to sit at full capacity. This will restore both discipline and safety inside the buses," said a BEST conductor, he also mentioned the congestion in the buses is caused only because of the standees.

Meanwhile, following the addition of MSRTC buses, the ridership of the undertaking has increased by 2 lakh.

"The BEST administration has agreed to running buses on full capacity. To get things operational, we have floated the proposal to the state government, hence their nod is awaited," said a senior BEST official

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