BEST to ask civic body for parking space

Earlier this month, the BEST issued work orders for 450 diesel buses, which will arrive in three to five months.

Earlier this month, the BEST issued work orders for 450 diesel buses, which will arrive in three to five months.  

BMC must free up space for 6,000 new buses, say BEST committee members

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking will ask the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to ensure that parking space is made available for the 6,000 new buses to be inducted soon.

The issue of restricted parking capacity was raised at the BEST committee meeting on Friday, and it was decided that BEST general manager Surendrakumar Bagde would write to his BMC counterpart, Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi, on the issue.

Earlier this month, the BEST issued work orders for 450 diesel buses, which will arrive in the next three to five months. It is also expecting the delivery of the first batch of 10 electric buses out of the 80 it plans to procure in the coming weeks. In the first phase, the fleet is planned to go up to 6,000 buses.

BEST currently has 3,334 buses in its fleet. Of these 2,900 are in use with a daily ridership of nearly 25 lakh. This number was over 40 lakh a decade ago.

At the meeting, members expressed the fear that increasing the number of buses in Mumbai would not be possible due to BEST’s restricted parking capacity and a shortage of staff.

“BEST has a maximum parking capacity for only 4,000 buses. There is no parking space available for the remaining buses that are proposed to be inducted,” said Suhas Samant, senior BEST Committee member. “Parking capacity should be looked into before the plan to increase the number of buses is rolled out as the 27 depots in the city are full,” he said.

Shiv Sena corporator and committee member, Anil Kokil, emphasised the need to recruit more staff to increase the frequency of buses. “There has not been a single recruitment in the past three to four years,” he said.

Mr. Kokil said that of the 3,334 buses, only 2,900 were in use. “BEST is unable to utilise the remaining 434 buses due a shortage of drivers and conductors,” he said.

Committee members also felt that lowering the fares would not be a solution to increasing the bus frequency. “This will merely increase daily passenger ridership from 25 lakh to 40 lakh. But the final result will remain the same as the ratio of fares to people will stay the same,” Bhushan Patil of the Congress said.

No department heads

At least Eight departments of BEST Undertaking have no one to head them, in the absence of A-grade officers.

Raising the issue at the meeting, member Suhas Samant said, as a result, issues of discipline have cropped up. “These departments are being overseen by A3- and A4- grade officers who have been acting as heads of department over the past 10 to 15 years. They do not have the qualifications to handle these posts,” Mr. Samant said.

According to him, in past six months, 44 A-grade officers have retired. The solution to this is that the BEST should conduct entrance examinations or interviews and appoint officers soon so that the department can be run in a better way, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 5:33:52 AM |

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