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Mumbai: Union jittery as BEST-owned buses on decline

Updated on: 22 May,2024 07:03 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Rajendra B. Aklekar |

It is being claimed that in absence of immediate measures, all the buses with the undertaking will belong to contractors by 2027

Mumbai: Union jittery as BEST-owned buses on decline

Though BEST has claimed to have placed orders for new buses, deliveries have not materialised. File pic

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Mumbai: Union jittery as BEST-owned buses on decline

Given the decline in the rate of the bus fleet in the city, the BEST undertaking will not have their own bus by 2027 and all the buses in its fleet will be that of the contractors. And with such a state, employee benefits of the undertaking are at standstill with no staff promotions, no refilling of vacancies and all such issues remaining unsolved, alleged trade union on Tuesday.

 As per the latest data, the BEST fleet comprises 1,099 own buses operated by its own drivers, and 1,909 buses running on wet lease belonging to contractors, making the total fleet of 3,008 buses in all. "The fleet is declining every day and if this situation continues, there will be zero self-owned buses by 2027. Since there are no new buses coming, there is stagnancy among the employees too. There are no employee benefits happening, no promotions and no vacancies being filled up. There have been no promotions after 2015 and there are more than 12,000 vacant posts," the BEST Workers' Union general secretary Shashank Sharad Rao said.

Rao said that it is legally binding upon the BEST to maintain a certain number of buses in its fleet as per a memorandum of undertaking (MoU) signed with us on 11 June 2019. “When we gave consent for the wet-leasing of buses, there were certain mandatory clauses. The deal was that at any point in time, the BEST must have a fleet of 3,337 own, self-owned buses. For every bus scrapped, the BMC will fund a new bus. This MoU has been backed by BMC with a signed document,” he told Mid-Day.

Refuting the allegations of depleting the fleet of owned buses, BEST officials said the process to procure more buses was already on and had placed orders for more buses. However, sources have alleged that despite placing orders for more than 5,000 buses to different suppliers, the actual deliveries have not been happening as per schedule, leaving the BEST fleet stagnant at 3,008 buses, including those on wet lease.

Total no of buses currently in BEST fleet

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