Metro, Monorail, State buses gain from BEST strike

Smooth ride: Metro commuters are glued to their cell phones on a less crowded train on Thursday, a day after the BEST strike was called off.  

The city’s public transport systems came to the rescue of Mumbaikars during the nine-day strike called by workers of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking. Regular bus services resumed after the strike was called off on Wednesday.

Mumbai Metro One, the city’s sole Metro service, saw its daily ridership increase by an average of 55,000 on weekdays. Twelve additional services were deployed to cater to the rising passenger traffic. The service recorded its highest ridership on January 11 when it ferried 5.2 lakh passengers, a leap from the average weekday ridership of approximately 4.5 lakh.

Rise in passenger traffic

During the nine-day strike, the service saw the highest growth in passenger traffic between the Andheri to DN Nagar and the Andheri to Airport Road stations. The added rush led to crowding within Metros and long queues at major stations. Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) had deputed extra staff to tackle the rush at these stations.

An MMOPL spokesperson said, “We are happy to service additional commuters who have chosen Mumbai Metro during the strike period. Our systems are equipped to handle the increased capacity.” The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) ran additional bus services from the day the strike was declared. According to Abhijit Bhosale, spokesperson of MSRTC, the State corporation ran 100 buses daily on select routes, earning them a revenue of ₹37.7 lakh. “Since our buses are wider than the BEST buses, we were unable to run them on narrow roads,” Mr. Bhosale said.

The ailing Mumbai Monorail got a boost with the number of commuters increasing by around 65% during the period of the strike. On January 14, it ferried 25,713 passengers, the highest during the strike period and nearly 10,000 more than the preceding Monday. In all, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority earned around 14.39 lakh.

Exploring new options

Lakshmi Patel (47), who commutes from Mysore Colony to Bhakti Park every day for work, said that while she was earlier scared of travelling by the Monorail, the ongoing strike left her with no other option. Pooja Shinde (22), a student at SNDT Arts College, said, “The strike has made my commute harder as the local bus stop is close to my residence in Amar Mahal, while the Metro station is farther away.”

Both the Central Railway and the Western Railway had deployed additional services in the initial few days of the strike. Private buses were allowed to run as city buses on the third day of the strike. They mostly plied on key routes such as Andheri station to SEEPZ and Bandra station and Kurla station to the Bandra Kurla Complex.

Despite these measures, most Mumbaikars had to depend on autorickshaws and taxis and were met with several refusals and long waiting periods.

(Inputs from Manushi Kapadia)

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 7:05:16 AM |

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