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Mumbai: BEST buses may ply on dedicated lanes

Traffic dept and BEST has identify stretches between Byculla and Sion

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Mumbai: BEST buses may ply on dedicated lanes
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The BEST Undertaking and Traffic Police are identifying stretches of locations where BEST buses can ply on dedicated bus lane system in Central-South Mumbai between Byculla and Sion. The undertaking has been mulling on the project for years, namely to increase the frequency of buses and daily passenger count.

On Tuesday, the BEST administration brought forth this proposal of theirs for which they are in touch with Mumbai Traffic Police as well. "We are exploring the possibility of running buses on dedicated lanes. This will namely happen on stretches where the density of number of buses running on different routes is high; say between 125-150 buses in 2-3 minutes. For instance between Byculla and Sion there are nearly 150 buses that operate per minute on different routes," said Dr Surendrakumar Bagde, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.

Ashok Datar, transport expert who heads Mumbai Environmental Social Network said: "Dedicated bus lanes are good to tackle congestion on road. However the route between Byculla and Sion has lot of parking on road and flyovers. The dedicated bus lane can be implemented on Western and Eastern Express Highways."

The BEST Committee members urged Bagde to also look at other stretches. "The administration should also study the possibility of running buses on dedicated lanes between Vashi-Chembur and Sion-Mulund," said Anil Patankar, chairman, BEST Committee.

In the past the BEST had shut down dedicated bus lanes at Bandra Kurla Complex and between Worli Junction and Haji Ali. Sources said that both have been shut down due to traffic congestion as well as inadequate buses. "Till motorists do not follow traffic rules, encroachments are not removed and parking issues are not sorted; having dedicated bus lanes will be difficult," said Yogesh Ambe, expert on road safety, transport and infrastructure.

Tackling Traffic Woes

New route for dedicated buses: Byculla-Sion

  • 125-150: Approx no. of buses running between Byculla and Sion
  • 2-3 minutes: Frequency of these buses running on different routes
  • Rs 6-7 lakhs: Loss incurred by single BEST depot per day due to diversions
  • Rs 50-60000: Loss incurred by a bus each day after diversions

Diversions due to bridge closure at: Ghatkopar, Andheri, Juhu, Oshiwara

A ray of hope

  • The BEST and their Workers Union, has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tuesday evening
  • This will pave way for the administration to hire buses on wet lease in which the drivers and maintenance is the responsibility of contractors
  • Shashank Rao, leader of the labour union claimed it as a big victory for them as BEST will have to maintain the bus fleet at 3337 buses
  • They won't retrench employees and their existing salary benefits
  • BEST employees, who joined after 2007, will be given remain 10 step increment.
  • Pending gratuity of retired employees will be paid by September 2019
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