The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) is one of the oldest organisations in Mumbai. Days after it celebrated its anniversary on August 8, the undertaking has, for the first time, compiled data on the number of accidents that its vehicles were involved in, and the number of lives lost in them, since 1947. And the figures may keep you off bus rides forever.
Between 1947 and 2011-12, nearly 4,070 people have lost their lives in accidents.
In the last 66 years, BEST buses have been involved in 3.27 lakh collisions, hitting individuals, two-wheelers or four-wheelers.
Officials from BEST attribute the accidents to the growing density of road traffic on Mumbai roads, a problem that the claim is compounded by poor driving skills.
The number of cars registered with the RTO grows by an average of 4-5 per cent every year.
Between 2000 and 2012, the roads have witnessed 1,509 accidents, which have resulted in deaths of 508 people. Since 1963, the calculations have been made per 10,000 km to obtain average figures.
“The total accidents per kilometre have remained stable at around 0.03 since 2000. However, we are doing every bit to cut down accidents,” said BEST spokesperson A Tamboli.
Since 2004, the BEST has been compensating victims or their families monetarily. In the first such case, a speeding BEST bus hit a woman and her two children, after which the undertaking paid the family around Rs 4.65 lakh.
Meanwhile, transport experts claim that BEST buses cannot be held solely responsible for these accidents and deaths.
“Today, BEST has to share the entire road with many other vehicles, while the width of roads available is far too little. Dedicated lanes for buses would be one of the best ways to reduce the number of accidents on roads, and also improve efficiency,” said AV Shenoy, Mumbai Vikas Samiti.
In the last few months, the BEST undertaking has been cutting down its fleet, with its transport wing facing huge losses.
In weeks to come, the fleet will be cut down further from 4,700 to 4,200, with air-conditioned buses to be axed from the fleet as well.
1947 to 1963
1964 to 1999
2001 to 2012
Bloodiest years on the road
Years that saw the highest number of deaths
Total collisions: 3,26,815
Total fatalities: 4,070