Scores of city commuters expressed their frustration over the lack of sufficient public transport on various routes during the Independence Day holiday. The absence of adequate buses caused inconvenience to locals, with many struggling to reach their destinations.
When contacted, a BEST official (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport), said that on holidays, BEST operates Sunday pattern with around 80 buses in service. Not only buses, but also the number of taxis was also limited on Tuesday.
Commuters face difficulties due to inadequate bus services
Commuters, gathered at prominent locations such as CSMT, Marine Drive, Girgaon, Haji Ali Chowk, and the Gateway, highlighted the difficulties faced due to inadequate bus services. They emphasised that the situation disproportionately affected female and elderly commuters. Waiting times for public transport stretched for hours, forcing some to resort to overpriced taxis due to the lack of options.
"I have been waiting for the bus here for the past thirty-five minutes but there is no trace of it," lamented a female commuter at CSMT. The scarcity of cabs, as many drivers were also on holiday, further exacerbated the transportation issue on Independence Day.
50% taxis being off the road leads to more hardships
Around 50 percent of taxi drivers have decided to take a well-deserved break on the occasion of Independence Day, said Ram Milan Yadav, 56, who has been driving taxi in the city since last 30 years. He stated that several taxi drivers, especially young ones, have chosen to embrace the holiday spirit and enjoy their day off with their families.
Elderly commuters expressed their struggles in finding cabs and boarding them due to their limited availability. They called for the government's attention to address this issue and implement a comprehensive transport policy on holidays. The sentiment was echoed by residents, like Sujan Singh from Mulund, who highlighted the challenges of finding affordable transportation options on such occasions.
Overcrowding on popular routes a recurring issue
Female commuters emphasised the difficulty of boarding overcrowded buses, often missing out on seats. They reported that men tend to board first, leaving them and the elderly behind. Overcrowding on popular tourist routes, particularly on national holidays, was a recurring issue that prompted concerns about safety and convenience.
City residents urged the transport authority to intervene and rectify the situation, emphasizing the need for improved planning and coordination to provide better public transport services on holidays.
"Especially on the occasion of national festivals like Independence day and Republic day, state transport needs to come up with a comprehensive plan to avoid to inconvenience to the citizens," said Ashish Chavan, a retired bank employee. According to Chavan, on the occasion of festivals, number of taxis are also very less. Thus, BEST needs to come up with a comprehensive plan.