If you think that the first-aid box provided in the air-conditioned buses operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) will come in handy during emergencies, you’re wrong. The boxes are empty, with no medical kit inside.
BEST says they are ‘exempt’ from maintaining a first-aid kit since they ply in the city, while the rules state otherwise
The discovery was made by a curious commuter, Suheil Merchant (30), who regularly uses these AC buses to commute between Juhu and Prabhadevi. “On Thursday, I got a chance to sit near the first-aid box when I was travelling by the AS-4 route (Backbay depot to Oshiwara).
Suheil Merchant made this discovery on the AS-4 bus that plies between Oshiwara and Backbay Depot
Out of sheer curiosity, I opened it to see what is inside,” recalled the corporate communications professional. However, he found the box to be absolutely empty, with no medical kit inside to help passengers in case there is an emergency.
“I would request the BEST authorities to accept that their AC Kinglong buses are redundant and they seriously need to maintain their fleet. Their casual approach should not compromise the safety of neither the staffers, nor the commuters,” he added.
BEST has a fleet of 4,200 non-AC and 287 AC buses which ply on the roads. Both types of buses have provision for a fire extinguisher, but only AC buses have a medical kit in them.
Merchant further added that he had noticed many buses without the necessary fire safety equipment, too. “I have seen many buses without the hammer to break the glass in case of fire,” he said.
When asked about it, A S Tamboli, senior Public Relations Officer, BEST, said, “Because we ply within the city, we are exempted from the law that mandates that buses should have a first-aid kit.”
Tamboli cited the Motor Vehicles Act, but when mid-day looked up the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, we found that according to Rule 138 4(d), the driver of every vehicle is required to maintain a first-aid kit ‘containing a tube of antiseptic cream containing 0.5% of Centrimide B.P. in a non-greasy base, sterilised dressings, sterlised elastic plaster, waterproof plaster, gauze and elastic bandage for wounds and burns.’