Taking serious note of the rising number of its drivers’ involvement in road mishaps across the city, which have left several dead and injured numerous, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has now decided to come down hard on the offenders, including first-timers. Depending on the intensity of the offence, drivers could either face a temporary suspension or termination of employment. Ashok Patil, chairperson, BEST committee, said, “If proved that it’s our driver’s fault, strict action will be initiated against the offender, irrespective of the fact that he is a first-time wrongdoer. If we don’t take stringent action against such drivers, chances are that they might take us for granted and the number of accidents may rise.”
Narrating his altercation with a bus driver, who tried overtaking his vehicle from the wrong side near Regal cinema, G C Rai said, “In his attempt to overtake me from the left side, the driver almost rammed the bus into my vehicle. When I stopped him and pointed out his mistake, the driver replied, ‘hum aise hi chalate hain (this is how we drive)’. And when I warned him that I would report his actions to his superiors, he simply said, ‘aap ko jo karana hai karo (do whatever you feel like)’.”
“Several mishaps involving BEST buses go unreported. The administration has made the right move and should stick to it. Rash and negligent drivers must be punished,” said Bharati Karelia, a passenger from Goregaon.
A BEST official, requesting anonymity, said, “If found guilty of violating traffic norms, a driver will be issued a challan and a copy would be forwarded to his depot manager. Later, it will be the depot manager’s responsibility to take stringent action against the offender.” Even the traffic department has written to the BEST authorities, asking them to take strict action against offenders. Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of police (traffic), said, “BEST bus drivers drive rashly. We have written to the administration, asking it to punish guilty drives.”
Number of BEST buses in Mumbai
Total number of drivers