BEST 'yellow box' solution in limbo

Aug 04, 2012, 07:10 IST | Shashank Rao

Two years on, undertaking yet to implement plan to create painted areas in front of bus stops where drivers can halt to allow passengers ease of access; drivers continue to halt arbitrarily in the middle of the road or ahead of the stop

One of the common complaints of commuters standing at bus stops is lack of adequate space. Though the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) had identified the problem and thought of a solution, the administration no longer seems interested in implementing it.

The BEST officials along with officials from the traffic police department had plans to paint a yellow box in front of bus stops, a visual indicator for BEST drivers to halt their buses on the coloured spot. Two years on and the proposal has not moved an inch forward, apart from dry runs done by the authorities.

Out of lane: A BEST driver makes an awkard halt at a bus stop in Dadar. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The BEST was supposed to appoint a private agency, after tendering, for painting yellow boxes in front of bus stops using reflective paint.

“The BEST administration didn’t pay heed to this plan and didn’t even ask the agency that was supposed to beautify bus stops to paint the road with yellow colour. This box was meant only for passengers waiting at the bus stop,” said Sanjay Potnis, former BEST committee chairman.

The paint was supposed to cover one lane in front of the stop and was to cover 15 metres of area before and after a bus stop.

“The whole purpose of painting a yellow box was to make drivers aware where to halt buses. Quite often we receive complaints that drivers halt buses away from the stop,” a BEST official, requesting anonymity, said.

Sources said the traffic police were supposed to tow vehicles that occupied the earmarked space near bus stops, but the officials got busy in towing vehicles that were parked illegally. It has been observed that taxis, auto rickshaws and private vehicles are parked right in front or too close to bus stops, inconveniencing commuters.

Transport experts said it was important to discipline motorists and prevent them from parking vehicles near bus stops.

“These indicators have a two-fold effect. The bus driver will know where to halt the bus and motorists will know where not to park their vehicles. The BEST should start painting such indicators,” said Ashok Dattar, transport expert.

From August 7, passengers will be able to know the precise waiting time for a bus at a particular stop. Information can be availed by sending an SMS to 5606. In reply, passengers can learn the location of the bus three bus stops away from the stop where they are waiting. The technology is similar to the one used in Australia.

On the same day, the BEST will also introduce cashless ticketing system, wherein passengers using BEST smart cards can buy daily tickets.

About 1.5 lakh passengers use smart cards on a daily basis to travel on a fixed route.  

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