BEST strike force Mumbai police to bend rules to unclog passenger traffic

Jan 12, 2019, 20:50 IST | Diwakar Sharma

Mumbai police deployed at Agarkar Chowk in Andheri East were seen helping commuters board autorickshaws in groups of four - one passenger more than the permissible limit

BEST strike force Mumbai police to bend rules to unclog passenger traffic
An autorickshaw carrying four passengers moves outside Andheri East station as a cop looks on

The bus strike seems to be getting the BEST of the police, forcing them to bend rules to unclog passenger traffic. On Friday morning, cops deployed at Agarkar Chowk in Andheri East were seen helping commuters board autorickshaws in groups of four - one passenger more than the permissible limit.

Autorickshaw drivers were thus seen audaciously ferrying four passengers - three on the rear seat and one seated to the left of the driver. Defending the unofficial move, a policeman at the spot said, "We are allowing them (autorickshaw drivers) to ferry four passengers so that commuters do not feel stranded here due to the ongoing BEST bus strike. Our priority is to manage the huge crowd during peak hours."

BEST strike force Mumbai police to bend rules to unclog passenger traffic

The officer added, "We are not forcing anyone to ferry more than three passengers. We have been seeking cooperation from autorickshaw drivers to help us manage huge crowds gathered here. But, we have been slapping fines on those who refuse fare."

Apart from rickshaws, private buses are also helping manage crowds. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
Apart from rickshaws, private buses are also helping manage crowds. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

Another officer told mid-day that the traffic police and the RTO have been unofficially asked as part of an interdepartmental agreement to not levy any fines on autorickshaw drivers exceeding the limit of passengers. However, when mid-day asked the traffic control room regarding the move, an officer said, "Nobody has the authority to violate the rules prescribed in the ambit of law. If anyone has violated any traffic rule, s/he will be penalised."

Meanwhile, autorickshaws are still facing some trouble because of the strike. Mukesh Dubey, an autorickshaw driver said, "After the BEST bus strike, we have been facing traffic snarls as many autorickshaw and commercial vehicles have started to offer services to commuters."

Other resources have also pooled in to ease the effect of the strike. Senior officers were also seen managing the huge crowds of commuters on the roads. Apart from this, private and school buses have extended their services to cater to commuters. Women passengers are given priority on private buses.

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