Buses operated by Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) have not had a favourable run in the past few months, with the number of accidents involving them on the rise. In an effort to curb rash driving and breaching of signals to keep mishaps in check, the transport authority had decided to install speed governors in its buses on a trial basis. However, a section of people feel that the devices installed with good intentions are taking a toll on the schedule of buses arriving and departing from stops and depots.
By August-end, BEST plans to install speed governors in about 1,000 buses, while a few vehicles already fitted with the devices are being run now on a trial basis. “We have received complaints from drivers that especially on highways during non-peak hours, they are unable to go beyond the minimum speed due to these speed governors,” said a BEST official on condition of anonymity.
Officials claim that the buses have been arriving at depots more than 15 minutes late in the last few days due to the installation of speed governors coupled with the constant traffic. The maximum speed limit for single-decker buses is 65 kmph; it’s 55 kmph for double-deckers. Due to the speed governors installed, buses cannot go beyond these speeds and if the driver tries to accelerate, the fuel line gets disconnected.
“It is true that the speed of buses gets restricted, but due to traffic, normally, the buses cannot move at such speeds,” said BEST committee member Ravi Raja, who had given a list of over 100 cases of mishaps in April and May. On an average, a BEST bus travels at least 180-200 km in a period of 10 hours.
“The heavy traffic already restricts our buses from moving beyond 25-30 kmph, except when they are plying on the Western and Eastern Express Highways. So the speed restrictions shouldn’t pose many problems,” said another BEST committee member, Sunil Ganacharya.
According to recent figures, BEST has paid around Rs 40 lakh as compensation to kin of families involved in 21 different major accidents over the years.