Unrepaired buses, malfunctioning CNG systems, lack of adequate manpower, and financial problems mean that bus services are irregular, often being cancelled unannounced
For the past six months, commuters who depend on the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) bus system for their daily commutes have been facing a harrowing time, with 70-90 bus services being cancelled every day. As a result, commuters have been spending long hours waiting at bus stops, with no idea if the buses will arrive to pick them up.
Not street smart: In the last six months, about 30-40 NMMT buses have
broken down, mostly because they were incompatible with the recently
installed CNG engines
NMMT, an undertaking of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), has in its defence cited various reasons for the irregularities.
The body has said that around 40 of its buses have been marked as scrap, as they are not financially equipped to repair them.
Another source hinted that the cancellation of services was caused by the poor performance of buses that had recently been retrofitted with CNG systems.
Panvel resident Arun Bhise, head of the NGO Citizens' Unity Forum said, "Even on busy routes, commuters in Navi Mumbai have to wait for up to 30 minutes to get a bus. As bus services get cancelled abruptly, we are inconvenienced tremendously, especially during peak hours. Why the NMMT has failed to keep its bus services regular despite so much scope for growth is really a mystery."
With a fleet of 384 buses, NMMT provides extensive bus services, some of which ply on long distance routes, stretching from Navi Mumbai to South Mumbai, Borivli, Badlapur, Uran and Kalyan.
In the last six months, about 30-40 NMMT buses have broken down, mostly because they were incompatible with the recently installed CNG engines. To compound its troubles, NMMT has been facing a shortage of technical manpower to help maintain the buses.
G C Mangle, general manager of NMMT, said, "Buses breaking down is a common occurrence, but owing to the installation of CNG systems, approximately 40 buses are breaking down every day. So we have to cancel some services every day."
"We are likely to get 50 new diesel buses from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the next six months, and only then will we be able to make our services regular and consistent. Also, we are going to hire technical staff over the next few days, who will help to speedily repair damaged buses and maintain them," added Mangle.