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BMC chief’s ‘magic plan’ should set things right

BMC chief’s ‘magic plan’ should set things right

Responses to the question we posed yesterday indicate readers are enthused by Praveen Pardeshi’s ideas of turning BEST around
Do you think the BMC chief’s magic plan for BEST will work?

I am sure Mr Pardeshi has gone through his plan for BEST with all due diligence and discussed it with senior officials. He has possibly worked out various scenarios and it would have been nice if they presented a case study. To me, running BEST buses on short routes at low fares, commandeering private buses and supervising their operation are all ill-conceived ideas. Long distance AC buses at moderate fares and reasonable travel times and in any weather will draw commuters who travel by other mean. This, along with dedicated corridors for buses will help achieve these goals.

Yes, it is the way to go. It is a pity to see BEST buses plying empty, sometimes two buses of the same number going empty one after the other. A haath dikhao, bus roko should be implemented, if there is space on the bus. Every extra rupee earned will add up. Wishing the BMC chief the very best in implementing these public friendly ideas. Thanking you in advance and looking forward to travelling by BEST buses again.

—Patricia Affonso

I agree that BEST is suffering, especially due to poor bus frequency. If buses are increased and the number of AC buses goes up, it will be like taking a metro, which is currently running smoothly at full capacity during peak hour. This plan will surely work.

—Suyash Gosavi

The new BMC chief’s magic plan for BEST will definitely work. Unless there is any political and Union interference, that is. Mr. Praveen Pardeshi has a broader vision to bring back our dying BEST. His plan to take care of the public transport system for the benefit of Mumbaikars will benefit everyone. If everyone cooperates, his mission will be a grand success. Three cheers to him.

—K Ravindran Menon

BEST has suffered on account of heavy over-staffing, huge wage bills, low productivity, poor turnaround of buses and unimaginative route scheduling. BEST should have concentrated on feeder routes and connectivity to the nearest railway stations a decade ago, instead of wasting its resources on long and circuitous routes, which have fewer takers in an extremely congested city like Mumbai. Raising fares frequently instead of finding ways to attract more passengers, coupled with huge gaps in service, has led to a situation where people fled to share taxis/autos while BEST buses run near empty. This must change.

—TM Venugopalan

It was encouraging to note the Municipal Commissioner’s commitment to reviving the fortunes of the BEST. Another way that the BEST can use its currently idle depots is by making them a mandatory bus station for private, long distance buses that currently pick up passengers from any available spot on already crowded roads. A point to note, when the planned feeder services are introduced, it will only reduce average speeds further, since many roads are dug up for Metro construction and the total number of vehicles will not go down. A comprehensive system of congestion charges on private vehicles is needed once the city gets its public transport in shape, if we are to relieve the stress on our roads.

—Rohan Sharma

Yes. His magic plan will work. A change of guard works wonders, I have heard. Our New BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi has taken his job seriously from day one. BEST, the then pride of Mumbai has been ailing for a long time. A flat rate of Rs.5 for non AC and Rs 6 for AC buses (slab wise) is the masterstroke of all strokes. Illegal share taxis or autos have taken over Mumbai who have a competition with time every day. These migrant drivers loot Mumbaikars in every possible way. With his master vision and essential cooperation from BEST unions and bureaucrats, BEST will soon be in profit, ensuring salaries and gratuities on time.

—Mihir Merchant

The idea of short route A/C mini buses from railway stations to office and home is grand idea. Multi-level bus parking with a good restaurant and shopping facility at depot premises will facilitate the commuters and boost the business .This way, more commuters will be attracted to travel by BEST buses. The commuters will feel more homely than pardesi in this great metro city!

—Satyanaraian Dubey

As a Mumbaikar, I want the BMC chief’s plan to work and I’m sure it will. All of us yearn for affordable and comfortable transport option and at the moment, the only organisation capable of doing so is the BEST given its scale and size. If a city like Hong Kong with 90% of the public using bus transport system can succeed then why not Mumbai?

—Shrinivas Shikaripurkar

Pardeshi’s focus is on bringing back the very large chunk of passengers who had stopped using the bus services, for various practical reasons; the main one being the inordinate waiting time at the bus stops. As the BMC chief very rightly avers, profit cannot be the main motive while running an urban transport service like BEST. Once BEST regains its peak ridership, people will depend less and less on shared cabs and autos. This will substantially reduce the vehicles on the roads, thereby decreasing congestion, traffic bottlenecks, and pollution.

—V. Chandramohan

The proposals like mini buses, AC buses for connectivity with metro stations, shorter routes instead of longer point-to-point service and flat affordable fares are the muchneeded changes to cover the vast area. Longer routes have poor passenger-KM utilization and hence not economically feasible, this is one of the reasons of failure of AC buses introduced on such routes earlier. To make this plan successful, BEST and Metro together will have to plan the interchange locations with convenient connectivity to nearby business and residential hubs. Introduction of “single ticket” concept will help enhance the utility of public transport network.

—Satish Gupte

The Commissioner has caught the “BEST” bull by the horn. His understanding of this city’s transport system is very clear and his thoughts are governed by ground realities. However, one serious apprehension I have is that the short routes originating from the rail stations need to be free from any vagaries on the roads like the illegal parking, improper bumpy roads, foot traffic hassles, et al. Currently the city traffic scenario is not at all conducive for buses to move freely. Design and the size of the short route buses need to suit the road widths for a hassle-free drive, as buses would then stick to the scheduled arrival/ departures. The task is hard, and I wish all the best to Mr Pardeshi for this venture.

—Bikram Banerjea

Through Mirror it is a humble request to the new Commissioer and BEST Authority to make all the existing bus stands really usable to public during rain and summer as I who travel daily by BEST (No: 223) have seen there are no bus stands at many places. Also, the ones which are there are of no use during heavy rains and during hot days, as their design seems faulty and should be re-looked for some modifications to make people comfortable, especially senior citizens, ladies, schoolgoing children and others when they wait for buses on these stands.

—Prafulla Dattatray Shinde

Inviting private players to partner is the best choice.

Introduction of AC buses is welcome, they will help in the sweltering heat. Bringing in mini buses is a better choice at this time of traffic congestion. Feeder, short distance services are need of the hour. Attention to welfare initiatives proposed is commendable. Hope the BEST management, government, private partners work in tandem, rise to the occasion to make BEST not only profit-making, but also commuters’ pride.

—Rachana Prakash

The whole report is heartening. I am an old man and once a while I go to Siddhivinayak at Prabhadevi from Andheri SV road. Being 75 years old, I prefer the bus, but after waiting for long hours I finally catch a train and go to Dadar and walk, as there are no bus stops before Portuguese Church. Please ensure timely arrival of buses if you want to create any facilities.

—Shridhar Kotian

 

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