Mumbai: 'Bus fleet increased in city, but at what cost?' asks BEST staff

Updated: 15 October, 2020 08:03 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Addition of MSRTC staff, their buses along with those hired from contractors has left depots crammed for breathing space

Social distancing has gone for a toss at depots, bus stations across the city
Social distancing has gone for a toss at depots, bus stations across the city

There's a jumbo crowd inside bus depots these days. With drivers, conductors and staff of its own buses, wet-leased buses and now with the buses taken from Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), bus stations and depots across the city have become crowd centres.

"The BEST has got more buses on its routes now, but at what cost is the question to answer. The crowding of staff leaves no social distancing at BEST bus depots as drivers and conductors of BEST's own buses, and other transport staff have been crammed in little spaces during duty and shift-changing hours," a senior staffer said.

Social distancing has gone for a toss at depots, bus stations across the city

"Every depot has the facility for a limited staff amenities and suddenly the surge of additional staff without any additional facilities has created a burden and an imbalance. This could be dangerous in these pandemic times as social distancing has gone for a toss," a staffer added.

"We also need to remember that the Maharashtra government has not given nod to the BEST to ferry full capacity that is 100 per cent passengers for the very same fear, but such small slips by the administration may reverse everything and put employees at risk," he added.

Following a shortage of buses after scrapping its older ones, the Undertaking has been taking buses from the MSRTC with their staff, in addition to buses taken on wet-lease from contractors, which has led to this situation.

BEST union leader Jagnarayan Kahar said that the administration should stop playing with the lives of BEST employees like this. "They are ready to work, but the management should follow a proper set of rules before pushing them to do such jobs. It is unfair that the employees are being treated this way," he told mid-day.

While BEST administration did not comment on the record, officials said that they have been juggling with the timings of change and interactions at bus depots as and when necessary.

Approx no. of buses BEST has taken from MSRTC

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First Published: 15 October, 2020 06:51 IST

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