Where does this bus go?

Published: 18 December, 2013 22:05 IST | Vinita Devendra |

Navi Mumbai residents are miffed that many NMMT buses have non-functioning LED displays; this means they can't spot the route from afar, and often tend to miss a bus

If you’ve recently been unable find a bus that goes on your route, it’s not because the vehicles aren’t running. It’s because the LED display indicators on the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport’s (NMMT) buses aren’t working and people are unable to identify the bus on their route. Several commuters have complained that they have been missing buses because of this.

Lights off: An NMMT bus with a non-functional LED display that has been causing commuters problems. Pic/Sameer Markande

Said Shrikant Dhamdhere, a passenger who commutes from APMC bus stop, “The display boards don’t work. The route is written with chalk on the windshield, but it’s not clearly visible or is illegible. Often, we have to ask the driver the route number. But they yell at us and tell us to look for it on the windshield. By the time we read the scribbled route, the bus leaves.”

The elderly have a tough time travelling in the city. Koparkhairane resident K Iyer said, “We have the luxury of boarding the bus from the front door. But there is still chaos at the stop, as other commuters are standing at the front door, trying to know where the bus goes. Even the buses, which have operational LED signs are difficult to read, as they are too dim to be read.”

The issue is faced by CNG buses operated by the body, all of which have LED displays, instead of the regular metal plates. NMMT has a total of 336 buses and 180 of these run on CNG. Of these, 30 are AC buses and the rest are non-AC.

NMMT says
When MiD DAY contacted NMMT, officials agreed some LEDs were non-functional, but refused to provide an exact number. “About 95 per cent of bus indicators are working properly. This problem is seen on buses that ply on the Dombivli-Kalyan route. The roads there are filled with potholes, due to which the internal wires connecting to the electronic display get disconnected. Thus, the boards stop showing the route,” said an official from NMMT.

Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) chairman Anwar Shaikh said that he was aware of this issue. “In fact, I have requested the officials to train the drivers and conductors on using the LED number plates accurately. Besides, I have even warned them against writing the bus route numbers using chalk. Instead, if required, they can use a metal plate with the bus number painted clearly on it, so that commuters can read the same from a distance as well.”

NMMT to get new depot
Meanwhile, the transport body is planning to build a new bus depot at Ghansoli. The depot will be located at Plot no 1, Sector 15 and will occupy an area of 63 square metres. NMMT has planned to allocate a budget of Rs 6 crore NMMT officials have also handed in a request to the MMRDA to build a bridge from Ghansoli to Ghatkopar, in order to make it easy for buses to reach the depot. The depot will be equipped with all facilities, such as CNG gas pumps, cabins for officials and other amenities. Authorities claim the Ghansoli depot will be much bigger than the current depot at Turbhe. 

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