Commuters living in the metropolitan region will no longer have to suffer at the hands of inefficient public transport companies. The state’s transport department, in a notification on July 7, has allowed private buses to ply throughout the metropolitan region on a point-to-point basis, without needing to secure a permit.

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Such private buses might soon become a regular sight on city roads. File pics
Such private buses might soon become a regular sight on city roads. File pics

“If there are groups who have a common destination to go to, instead of waiting for the AC buses run by the stage contract operators (BEST, NMMT, TMT) they can employ these private bus operators at a cost and run point-to-point,” said an official from the Transport department.

The notification states that the existing buses run by the government are unable to cater to the rush
The notification states that the existing buses run by the government are unable to cater to the rush

Not up to the mark
The notification states that the existing AC buses being operated by the government agencies are unable to cater to the huge number of commuters. In addition to this, the AC services introduced by BEST too are not up to the mark and because of this, the number of private cars is increasing. Annually, there is 12 per cent rise in number of private vehicles on road in Mumbai.

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“There are around 1,200-odd private AC buses that run in the city. This decision will now allow free flow of these buses, thus ensuring that people can use these buses instead of travelling in trains and public transport buses,” said Harsh Kotak, general secretary, Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatan and owner of Modern Transport.

From now on, the private bus operators – be it those operating AC, non-AC, school or even company buses – can run from point-to-point without acquiring a special permit to do so. This will facilitate people residing in Navi Mumbai, Thane, Vasai, Virar and other distant places in the metropolitan region in travelling right till their office spaces. Previously, such operators had to secure a permit in order to ferry passengers from the metropolitan region.

“Rather than people getting their private vehicles, it would be a kind of pooling where groups from particular areas will travel inside a single AC bus. This would ensure that there are lesser private cars on road,” said G Saidhane, Secretary, MMRTA.

A point-to-point system means going from one end to the other without stopping or picking anyone in between. However, sources in the Regional Transport Office (RTO) said that any person who is a part of that group can board the bus or alight at a place before the final destination.