Mumbai: 'Wet-lease buses giving BEST a bad name,' BEST committee members

Updated: 19 October, 2020 07:33 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Citizens, BEST committee members, activists say these drivers drive rashly, are not trained and must be counselled

At least 13 passengers were injured in the accident involving a wet-lease bus on Saturday
At least 13 passengers were injured in the accident involving a wet-lease bus on Saturday

Drivers on buses wet-leased to the Undertaking are jeopardising public safety and should be stopped immediately, BEST committee members are now saying. The BEST accident that left 13 passengers injured on Saturday has now opened a can of worms with a number of citizens, BEST committee members and activists complaining that drivers of wet-leased buses are known for rash driving, as they are not trained, and need counselling. Such accidents, they said, lend a bad name to the iconic BEST Undertaking.

On Saturday, a BEST mini bus accident near Vikhroli left 13 passengers, many among them women, injured. A BEST spokesperson said at 10.45am, the bus on route number 27 that runs between Bhandup and Worli was on its way to Worli when it met with the accident. "The bus driver swerved to avoid a speeding biker who was coming down the flyover. The vehicle skidded and hit the divider and went into the bushes," the spokesperson added. Of the 13 commuters, four were sent to Rajawadi Hospital in Ghatkopar, two to Sion Hospital and seven discharged after first aid.

Committee members furious

BEST officials said the mini bus and its driver were part of the wet-leased bus fleet taken from private contractors. "These buses are putting Mumbaikars' lives in danger and should be shut without delay," BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya said.

A BEST employee said Mumbaikars should note that these drivers are not BEST staff. BEST committee member Ravi Raja said, "The drivers have not been trained as per required guidelines of public transport safety. They should be trained and counselled and if any contractor's driver is involved in such accidents more than three times, he should be disqualified." "Every citizen should avoid taking wet-leased buses and complain against them for any inaction like skipping of bus stop, etc," activist Rupesh Shelatkar said.

BEST officials refused to comment but said an inquiry had been launched into the accident and wet-leased drivers were being counselled on public transport safety.

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First Published: 19 October, 2020 07:11 IST

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