Mumbai: BEST buses take a 'deadly' turn in the afternoon

According to data collated by the undertaking, most fatalities in accidents involving BEST buses have occurred between noon and 5 pm; pedestrians crossing the road are the biggest victims of these mishaps

If you are out on the streets in the afternoon, it is better to stay as far as possible from a BEST bus. A recent survey report by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has revealed that accidents involving BEST buses have been most fatal in the afternoon i.e. between 12 noon and 5 pm.

As part of its road safety week from March 4-11, the undertaking carried out a survey of accidents involving its buses, starting from financial year 2009-10. In all, 199 deaths have been recorded till January 2015 these include pedestrians, passengers, other motorists on road etc.

From April 2014 to January 2015, 22 people have been killed. The year 2010-11 reported the highest fatalities: 47. Most fatalities have been observed between noon and 5 pm. 56 deaths (28 per cent) have occurred in this time band.

Sources explained that since there is lesser traffic on roads during these hours, drivers tend to speed up and drive rashly, thereby causing mishaps. Evening peak hours (5 pm to 9 pm) came in next, with 25.13 per cent of the total fatalities taking place between these times.

The reasons
Rash driving by BEST drivers is one of the chief reasons for these accidents. “Drivers have to maintain their bus schedule and accelerate whenever possible. But to keep a check on drivers and their driving records, we inspect each bus before it leaves the depot and at the time it arrives,” said A Dudhvadkar, chairman, BEST Committee.

However, people on the road are also at fault. In the last five years, 46.7 per cent of those dying in such accidents were pedestrians, followed by motorcyclists at 29.65 per cent. Half of this year’s deaths have been of pedestrians.

BEST officials said most of the deaths of pedestrians were because of jaywalking walking on the road when the signal is red for pedestrians. 66 deaths have been due to people coming in contact with a bus i.e. jaywalking. Officials said sometimes people alight from the rear door of the bus, and drivers are not able to see them.

Coming in contact with the rear left side of the bus was found to have caused most deaths. “This side of the bus becomes a blind side for bus drivers and, actually, it’s not completely their fault. However, there are cases of rash driving by BEST bus drivers, which also might have contributed to deaths of pedestrians,” said Kedar Hombalkar, BEST Committee member.

BEST buses knocking people down has caused 62 deaths, followed by 14 deaths due to motorcycles skidding and coming under, or in contact with, a BEST bus.

Death zones
In terms of an area-wise distribution, the northern suburbs of Mumbai have seen the most number of deaths. BEST, in its report, has segregated the city into four zones: north, east, west, and south.

The north zone comprises bus depots of Majas, Dindoshi, Marol and Santacruz; Ghatkopar, Mulund, Vikhroli, Shivaji Nagar and Deonar make up the east zone; the west zone is made up of Oshiwara, Goregaon, Magathane and Malwani depots and the south zone includes Mumbai Central, Wadala, Worli, Colaba and Backbay depots.

Recently, it also created an additional central zone with depots at Bandra, Dharavi, Anik, Kurla and Pratiksha Nagar (Sion). These were part of the previous four zones and their death tolls have been included in the respective zones that they were part of earlier.

The north zone is the red zone with 72 deaths over the last five years. “These are the areas where jaywalking happens the most. People pedestrians and motorists too should follow the traffic rules to prevent such accidents,” added Dudhvadkar. The south zone has the least number of fatalities at 35.

Top five reasons for deaths
>> 66 Came in contact with bus (jaywalkers)
>> 62 Knocked down by BEST bus
>> 14 Motorcyclists skid and came in contact with bus or went under it
>> 10 Motorcycle riders lost control and came in contact with bus 
>> 8: Dashed into bus

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