Save Our Lifeline: Citizens' Forum Plea To Resuscitate Mumbai's BEST Buses

Save Our Lifeline: Citizens' Forum Plea To Resuscitate Mumbai's BEST Buses

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, May 17, 2024, 07:04 PM IST
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Save our lifeline

Why is an affordable, safe and comfortable public transport system not a poll promise of any political party?

Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi Best — a citizens’ forum that has been studying the steady decline of the once acclaimed public bus system of Mumbai, the BEST, and demanding that it be saved from the jaws of privatisation — wants to know what the elected representatives will do to save the BEST if they win this election.

The city bus service run by BEST is the second lifeline of the financial capital of India the first being the local railway lines spanning the city. The entire working population depends upon these modes of transport for their daily commutes to their workplaces, schools, colleges, hospitals and other essential services. The bit-by-bit dismantling of this affordable transport system under the pretext of not being able to run it due to heavy losses, is impacting the well-being of the citizens of Mumbai negatively and is a burning issue that needs urgent attention.

We demand an explanation from the current and future elected representatives :

Why is one of the richest municipal corporations in India refusing to merge their budget with the BEST budget in order to subsidise this city bus service?

Why is the BEST complaining of running at a loss when public transport is an essential service, not a mere business to be run on profit motive?

Why this discrimination against the BEST when almost a lakh crore is to be spent on the loss-making Metro rail by borrowing funds?

If the claim of the BEST of acquiring new buses is true, why are bus commuters forced to wait for buses for more than an hour as compared to 15-20 minutes earlier? Why has the frequency of buses fallen drastically?

Why are BEST-owned buses being phased out and being replaced by smaller buses with less seating and standing space?

Why are the safe, larger BEST buses being replaced by smaller, badly maintained wet-leased or contractor-owned private buses which frequently break down or even burst into flames in some cases?

Why have many long-route buses been discontinued?

If the BEST is running at a loss, why are depots being sold to private owners at extremely low prices and in some cases why has the sale money not even been recovered? Who will benefit from the sale of this land — BEST, people or private corporation? Is this land being sold to raise resources for the Metro?

Why are the privately-run buses being run by private drivers while the BEST drivers are made to sit idle in preparation to lay them off?

Why is the government spending on priority on car-friendly expressways like the coastal road etc and running metros that cater to the higher income group of citizens at a loss, while the majority working population, senior citizens, students, women and other low-income groups are left stranded due to a drastic reduction in the number of city buses?

We, the citizens of Mumbai, demand an answer to all these questions and want to know what the elected representatives are going to do about it.

Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST

https://amchibest.wordpress.com/

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