Coronavirus outbreak: MSRTC gives all buses for essential services

Updated: Apr 04, 2020, 07:24 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

After GM saw only 30 per cent of COVID-19 plan transport services were working, he decided to utilise full fleet; BEST buses function in far flung suburbs

A doctor explains the importance of social distancing to BEST staff
A doctor explains the importance of social distancing to BEST staff

The Maharashtra government has decided to induct more state transport (ST) buses in the fleet for essential workers to avoid crowding. It has summoned all its staff for work to keep the services 100 pc ready as per the COVID-19 transport plan made at the beginning of the lockdown.

This, even as BEST city buses have extended their journeys to far-off places where they have not been ever before, like Titwala and Badlapur.

In a fresh order issued on Friday (a copy of which is with mid-day), the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation's (MSRTC) General Manager (transport) lamented that he found just 30 p c of the COVID-19 plan transport services working, and said that there was a need to take this to 100 pc as decided. He directed all staff required to run these services to join duty immediately, and those who don't will face action.

"Earlier this week to avoid overcrowding, the state government had decided to run about 80 additional services to cater to the essential services staff," a senior state transport official said.

These 80 services will be increased by inducting 40 more MSRTC buses in Mumbai, Thane and Palghar divisions. At present, 200 services are being operated, but they seem to getting crowded and hence the need for additional buses. About 1,000 MSRTC buses will be in service now.

The BEST city buses have now extended their journeys to Titwala and Badlapur. "We are taking the city buses to places where they have not been earlier. Actually a lot of hospitals have commissioned the services of BEST Undertaking and we have been running them as per requirements of the medical staff of these hospitals. A large number of emergency staff comes into the city from these extended suburbs," BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade said.

After mid-day highlighted the plight of BEST workers (Be(a)stly tales: staff at peril sans protection, March 30), the administration on Friday created an attendance system, and said that staff will work on alternate days thus reducing crowding at depots.

MSRTC daily trips

Vashi-Panvel 15
Panvel-Vashi 18
Dadar-Panvel 81
Panvel-Dadar 62

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