In a bid to make way for a seamless public transport, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) is working with Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and other agencies to create dedicated lanes for its buses on city roads. The move comes in the wake of reports that the undertaking is losing lakhs of its passengers, every month. BEST was also targeted for improper bus timings and lack of punctuality.
BEST general manager Jagdish Patil argued that traffic congestion on Mumbai’s roads is the main reason behind BEST’s poor service. “There’s a need to prioritise public transport in Mumbai. It would take at least 10 cars to carry as many passengers as a BEST bus does. Hence, they must be given propotionate space on the road,” he said.
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Patil added that while a Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) is the ideal way to encourage public transport, the buses should at least have dedicated lanes. “We recently had a meeting with State Chief Secretary, Prinicipal Secretary (Urban Development), Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) and officials from BMC and MMRDA, to discuss this issue,” he said.
Patil said MMRDA has now designed a project to create dedicated lanes for buses on 6-7 roads in Mumbai. These include stretches of Eastern Express Highway, Western Express Highway, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and the road connecting Haji Ali and Worli. A Detailed Project Report has been forwarded to the traffic police for their inputs. The undertaking is also seeking to decongest premises around railway stations, in order for its buses to move easily. However, the MMRDA had earlier planned the BRTS between Bandra and Dahisar on the Western Express Highway and between Sion and Mulund check naka on the Eastern Express Highway. But, the plan was shelved following complaints about the BRTS in Delhi and Pune, where it had been implemented.