Mumbai: Public transport likely to be hit on election days

RTOs book taxis, BEST buses and other vehicles for thousands of government employees involved in election duty on October 14 and 15

The public transport is likely to take a hit on October 14 and 15 in lieu of the state assembly elections. Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) have booked taxis, BEST buses and other vehicles for thousands of government employees involved in election duty.

While cool cabs are expected to be paid R1,950 for 24 hours for election duty, black and yellow taxis will get Rs 1,800

The three RTOs of Tardeo, Andheri and Wadala require around 1,500 buses. “Political parties are using our private buses to ferry their party workers,” said a bus operator. The parties have to pay a sum of R6,000 per day to ferry workers in Mumbai and R40,000 or more per bus to take them to different parts of the state, depending on the distance.

As private bus operators have a contract to ferry employees of multi-national companies and other private offices every day, they cannot use these 200-odd buses for election duty. So the State Transport department has asked schools to supply them with their buses.

Apart from this, the authorities have asked taxis and auto rickshaw unions to give their vehicles for election duty. They have also taken air-conditioned and non-AC vehicles from government offices and private vehicle suppliers on a stipulated rate. “We have given the number of taxis and buses required on election days to the respective unions,” said S Bhalerao, Regional Transport Officer (RTO) of Andheri.

For instance, the authorities are expected to pay around R1,800 to drivers of black and yellow taxis to travel 100 kms for 24 hours. Beyond that, they will pay R12 or so per kilometre. Similarly, cool cabs will be paid around R1,950 for 24 hours while for every kilometre after that they will pay around R12.5 or so. Officials, however, said that these rates are still being contemplated and will be fixed soon. They also plan to book private jeeps, sumo, vans and other cars.

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