The loss-making Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport blames the newly-opened toll plaza for adding to their woes. Buses are unable to complete their required number of trips due to traffic snarls at the toll
The newly-opened Kharghar-Kamothe toll plaza on the Sion-Panvel highway is proving to be a menace not only for the motorists, who have to deal with long queues and traffic snarls, but also for the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT). The transport body, which anyway incurs losses, fails to complete its daily schedule of trips, owing to the traffic conditions at the toll.
Over 35 NMMT buses ply on the Kharghar-Kamothe toll plaza every day. PIC/Anikoor Anvekar
Adding to the losses
The NMMT incurs a loss of approximately Rs 5-6 lakh every month and the new toll has worsened their plight. There are five routes for which the buses of NMMT have to pass through the toll plaza. Owing to the heavy traffic snarls, each of the five buses plying on these routes are making one or two trips fewer than their required schedule.
Speaking to sunday mid-day, Ganesh Mhatre, chairman, NMMT, said, “We have five routes connecting Panvel and Kalamboli to Thane, Dadar, Koparkhairne, Vashi and Uran. Over 35 buses plying on these routes have to pass through the toll, which takes more than half an hour. On an average, each of the buses on these five routes is supposed to make three-four trips daily, but due to heavy traffic at the toll, they fall short. As a result, we further incur loss of approximately R40,000-50,000 thousand per day.”
The transport body has demanded exemption from the toll and has instructed its staff not to pay at the toll plazas. “We have written a letter to the officials for exempting NMMT buses at the naka. We await their response,” Mhatre added. Recently, in order to prevent further losses, the NMMT had revealed that it is mulling appointing contractors to run its services on Gross Cost Contract (GCC) basis, wherein the contractor would look after the entire maintenance and fuel expenses of the buses. At present, the transport body has 382 drivers and 420 conductors who run a fleet of 360 buses including Volvos, covering 47 routes across Navi Mumbai and neighbouring cities.