The city is yet to get over 1000 designer bus shelters — new steel frame bus stops that have replaced the old green cement bus stops with red poles — which were approved way back in 2007 but haven’t been built by private contractors.
Sources in Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) said that of the 1,800-odd bus shelters, which were originally approved, around 800 have been erected. Of these, 450 are 12-feet high while 130 are 18-feet high. Apart from this there are over 200 bus stop poles too, which are just single metal rods on which bus stop numbers are mentioned on a blue plate.
“All these bus stops were part of the ‘first finder scheme’. Under this scheme the BEST had asked private contractors to come forward and identify bus stops that could be replaced with designer ones. If the BEST administration approved it, the private contractor would get advertising rights while BEST would get rent every month,” explained a BEST official.
Sources in BEST said that new bus shelters couldn’t be erected at 150-odd stops due to unavailability of space. Amidst all this, one of the private contractors also went to the Bombay High Court over issues with the BEST administration. Officials from the undertaking claim that the body could have revised rates to be charged from these contractors due to the delay in its construction.
However, A Tamboli, spokesperson, BEST, said, “All problems have been sorted out and pending work on these designer bus stops will begin soon.” At present, these designer bus stops are being used by unscrupulous elements like hawkers, beggars and street urchins who stack their goods on its roof.