mid day editorial: More power to our city's BEST red bus

Published: May 20, 2019, 04:45 IST | mid-day online desk | Mumbai

This brings some cheer to us Mumbaikars for whom the big red bus is as much a symbol as it is a convenient means of transport

Within a week of taking charge, Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi has decided to help the loss-making BEST by announcing Rs 100 crore grant to it every month. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials said that the grant would be given to BEST's transport section, so that losses can be recovered. The commissioner has said that there will be a review of the grant every month, revealed sources. The officials also said that BEST's budget would later be merged with the BMC, which is a long-standing demand. The BEST is currently reeling under a loss of Rs 2,500 crore.

This brings some cheer to us Mumbaikars for whom the big red bus is as much a symbol as it is a convenient means of transport. The looming signs of this service's death were particularly ominous for so many city persons, who depended on the bus as their only mode of transport.

There is little doubt that the other modes would have come into to fill the vacuum but what worked so tirelessly, efficiently and was cost-effective through the years, should be saved. We hope that this will save the BEST and we actually see an improvement in service. Commuters, who have deserted the bus, will make their way back. To return to its lost glory, it is important that the BEST revives old routes and increases frequency. The latter has dropped to a new low, leading to long waits, frustration and people looking for alternate means of intra-city travel.

Avenues to make the BEST financially stronger with interest in commercialisation of bus depots and complexes show there is long-term vision in this revival attempt. mid-day stands for the big, red bus, the ol'faithful, especially in the monsoon when it is the only one which can run in the fury of the city's rains. Power to this flailing transport arm.

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