With the suburban railways limiting its services only towards essential service providers, Mumbaikars are now heavily dependent on BEST buses. The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking is pressing nearly 3,400 buses regularly, but compared to the high passenger turnout, the buses are not adequate to provide swift commute to Mumbaikars. Which is why the low frequency of buses have added to the woes of daily commuters.
"BEST is operating the buses at maximum capacity regularly. But the demand is higher than usual which is why the frequency is low in some of the areas in the city," said BEST spokesperson, Manoj Varade.
The BEST has a fleet of 3,500 buses and the undertaking presently has a daily ridership of 16 lakh commuters. Prior to the pandemic BEST had a ridership of 30 lakh commuters daily.
"The buses are only allowing 50 per cent of the passengers to enter. And with railways suspended traffic congestion has also increased hence the frequency of buses has fallen automatically," stated Varade.
The BEST spokesperson also maintained, often commuters forcibly enter the buses which leads to flouting of distancing policies.
BEST committee member, Bhushan Patil stated, considering the high demand among passengers BEST should have roped in more buses from private players. Private transport operators have also stated they have written to BEST GM extending logistical help to the undertaking.
"BEST can use our buses in order to extend its services till MMR region, we have written to the administration but they are yet to revert," said a private transport operator Shiv Desai. Varade said it’s for the GM to take a call.
Representative bodies of Taxi and Auto Rickshaws stated, they have hit the road in full capacity. "Auto Rickshaws are operating in full capacity, as sharing services are banned and are not helping regular office goers much" said Thampi Qurian, general secretary, Mumbai Rickshawmen's Association.