Residents from the satellite city commuting by the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport’s (NMMT) bus services are a hassled lot. The LED display indicators on the buses, which often do not work, are making it difficult for them to spot bus route numbers from a distance. Several passengers are complaining that with the authorities now resorting to writing the route numbers with chalks, which mostly get smudged out, they are unable to catch the right bus, which thwarts their routine and otherwise travel plans.
NMMT currently operates 336 buses, of which 150 run on CNG. These CNG buses, which are fitted with LED number plates, are the ones which have indicators that are not functioning, said residents. Vashi resident Vima Jairam who boards the NMMT buses to get to her college in Koperkhairane said that the LED indicators malfunction often, and authorities then use chalk to scribble routes.
“But many times the chalk is not visible and I can’t identify which bus is approaching the stop. We have to scream out to the driver or conductor or the passengers to tell us the bus number. But there have been times when the drivers peskily yelled back at me, asking me to read the bus route written up front. By the time one can tell them that the chalk writing is barely visible, the bus leaves the stop.”
Also getting affected by the non-operational displays are the senior citizens in the area. Several elderly persons opine that since they have the luxury of boarding a bus from the front, they can ask the bus driver before entering. “But, then there is still chaos at the bus stop and other commuters find it difficult to read the route number. In fact there are some buses that have operational LED displays, but they are too dim to be read by anyone,” said Koperkhairane resident K Iyer.
NMMT officials agreed that there are a few buses whose LED number plates were not working, but refused to provide the exact number. A senior NMMT official, on condition of anonymity, said, “If the LED number plates of any of the buses are not working, then we try writing the route name or number with a chalk, so that residents can read and do not miss the bus at the stop. We are also putting up small boards with route numbers on the front of the buses for the benefit of the commuters. We are aware that it is an issue for commuters and will look into it.”