Mumbai: Keep 20 per cent bus empty at starting point: BEST Undertaking to staff

Updated: 25 June, 2020 07:22 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

BEST Undertaking issues new sets of guidelines to ensure social distancing on board the vehicle post first phase of unlock

A BEST conductor refusing passengers due to lack of space inside the bus at Dadar TT. File pic/Suresh Karkera
A BEST conductor refusing passengers due to lack of space inside the bus at Dadar TT. File pic/Suresh Karkera

In a new set of protocols to tackle COVID-19, the BEST Undertaking has told its staff to keep 20 per cent of the bus empty at originating stops to allow passengers at subsequent stops to get in and maintain social distancing. The directive from the General Manager's office also states that no more than five standee passengers be allowed onto any bus.

"Why 20 per cent and not 15 or 25 per cent, how do they arrive at these figures? If the decision is based on qualitative input by passengers or BEST staff, then it's wrong. But, if it's based on directional flow data of passengers boarding which clearly indicates that before other passengers start alighting there are 20 per cent new passengers waiting to board, then the decision makes sense," transport expert Paresh Rawal said.

As a part of the government's 'Mission Begin Again' programme, the BEST introduced 2,132 buses operating on 82 routes in the city for essential service staff. Around 600 dedicated buses were introduced on other routes including feeder routes.

Ola said that all its autos are being fitted with protective screens to ensure physical separation between the drivers and passengers
Ola said that all its autos are being fitted with protective screens to ensure physical separation between the drivers and passengers

"Buses need to have a set rule of guidelines to maintain social distancing inside the bus. With limited passengers inside at originating stops, passengers at subsequent bus stops will be able to enter safely," BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade said.

Trade unions on Wednesday raised a voice against the BEST issuing suspension notices to drivers and conductors who remained absent and did not report to work despite calls and requests. However, BEST officials have said they had warned the employees in advance, issued charge sheets seeking explanations and only then resorted to action.

Committee for transport
The state government has formed a committee led by Transport Minister Anil Parab to look into the problems related to transport services and suggest measures on how to run them effectively.

'Allow us to ply freely'
Mumbai's kaali-peeli taxi and auto driver associations have requested the government to roll back its May 31 order limiting the number of passengers in their vehicles.

"On behalf of 1,50,000 taxi operators and 3 lakh rickshaw operators, we request the government to roll back their order of ferrying two essential passengers. The financial problems faced by the taxi-rickshaw operators since March are immense as they have no other sources of income," Anthony Quadros of Mumbai Taximen's Union said.

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First Published: 25 June, 2020 07:00 IST

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