Fewer BEST (Brihan-mumbai Electric Supply and Transport) buses will ply on Mumbai roads today as THE Undertaking’s employees, including drivers and conductors, will be staging a day-long protest against BEST’s plan of privatising the bus operations.

The day-long protest will be held at Azad Maidan. File pic

The protest will be held at Azad Maidan and to not affect the operations much, those drivers, who have been assigned evening or night duties, have been asked to participate in the protest in the day and go back to work later. On an average around 3,700 buses ply everyday across the city and the protest will reduce that number by 5 per cent today.

“Around 3,000 employees including drivers and conductors will participate in the protest. We will decide the future course of action on Tuesday on the ground,” said Shashank Rao, president of BEST Workers Union.

The BEST plans to hire around 150 buses on wet lease, which means that a private bus operator would provide its buses, staff to the Undertaking. The operator will be paid on the basis of number of kilometers ran per day at a cost of around R39-40 per km and run a maximum of 180 km in a day. The employees don’t seem happy with this plan.