BEST claims 2016 saw lowest casualty rate in 8 years

Even as two people died in separate accidents this week, transport body claims its track record is improving as last year saw lowest casualty rate in eight years

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Even as two BEST bus accidents claimed two casualties earlier this week, the transport authority says that its track record is slowly improving. While road commuters privy to BEST's brazen road show every day might find this claim hard to digest, statistics from 2016 till until February, indicate that at 16 deaths, the undertaking has seen the lowest number of accident-related casualties in the last few years. 

"It is unfortunate that two more deaths took place last week. But, when compared to the last financial year, which saw 22 deaths, the number of fatalities now stands at 16. While we are hoping for zero fatalities, there are several issues like random parking on road, hawkers and encroachment, which make movement of public transport difficult," said Jagdish Patil, general manager, BEST Undertaking. Officials from BEST Undertaking claim that this is the lowest in the last few years.

Slow change
In 2015-16, there were 22 deaths involving BEST buses. The highest was in 2010-11, when 47 people were killed in BEST-related accidents.

mid-day had highlighted the issue of BEST bus accidents in its February 14 edition. The authorities claim that most accidents take place when the left rear-end of the bus comes in contact with other vehicles or pedestrians as it’s a blind side for the driver.

A recent BEST study also confirmed this claim. Over 30 per cent of the total fatal accidents seem to have occurred on the left rear-end of the bus, followed by the front right and left side at 22 per cent each.

Probable solutions
Authorities claim that they are working on making changes in the length of the buses so that it can easily manoeuver on Mumbai’s roads. At present, the length of the buses varies from nine to 12 metres. "A study is underway to know what length of buses will be ideal for Mumbai. Once it is decided, we will submit it to the relevant authorities for approval," added Patil.
Sources said that the Undertaking is looking at smaller buses. Already, 303 new buses that are comparatively smaller in length will be introduced to the fleet starting March 10.

Sources added that BEST is also making changes in the side mirrors and are testing 380 mm x 190 mm-sized ones -- the present ones are 40 per cent smaller. Officials said if this proves to be helpful to the drivers, they would fit the mirrors in the new lot of 303 buses too.

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