Mumbai: Share autos foil BEST plans of integrating feeder buses with Metro
BEST officials say that commuters coming out of Metro stations prefer taking share autos instead of waiting for the bus
The plan to integrate public transport by officials of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) and Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) has taken a beating. The recent setup to connect BEST bus routes with Ghatkopar-Andheri-Versova Metro line was scrapped on November 1, after it failed to generate interest of commuters. What made matters worse was that the BEST buses had to compete with illegal share auto stands operating on the same feeder routes.
BEST authorities had been running around 70 buses on two routes — Navrang Cinema to Oshiwara in Andheri (West) and Seepz-Chakala-Seepz in Andheri (East) – since June. “However, the response from commuters has been lukewarm, with only 20-22 people travelling in every trip on an average,” said a senior BEST official.
Officials claim that commuters coming out of the Metro station are instead opting for the share-auto system, which has been operating without permission. “These auto stands are right next to the bus stop and people prefer that over waiting for the bus,” said an official. This has foiled the entire plan of running buses on feeder routes, which was aimed by BEST authorities to act as connectors for people using the suburban railway, Metro and Monorail.
The Metro line has already shifted close to 11,000 BEST passengers, affecting more than 20 bus routes, both from Andheri station (East and West) and Ghatkopar. It has also affected notorious auto drivers known for refusing passengers and their rude behaviour. Sources say these autos have now shifted to the north-south routes where BEST was running the feeder buses. In a recent meeting between the BEST authorities and Metro officials, they also discussed integrating a card payment system for the two modes of transport. However, the proposal has been on paper for long.
A MMOPL spokesperson said, “BEST has discontinued its feeder service on the existing Metro route. MMOPL had a meeting with BEST officials for the same. A fresh route will be studied by BEST, as per suggestions given by MMOPL.”
>> BEST will add 450 buses by March 2016 in a phased manner
>> It will replace the existing fleet of old buses with these new ones
>> It will also run few buses in business hubs like BKC, which the MMRDA has demanded
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