To avoid yet another backlash from its drivers and conductors working across 25 bus depots, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking is tweaking its present duty schedule to limit 12-hour duties for the bus operating staff.
Unhappy with the 12-hour duty time and duties on multiple routes, the bus operating staff recently went on a two-day “mass leave”, leaving the transport division paralysed.
As a rule, the bus operating staff has to work for eight hours. Under the manual system of duty scheduling, the staff, in most cases, was operating on single routes. To optimise resources, the BEST implemented Canadian-software Trapeze to plan its bus timetable, last year. The computer-based timetable is expected to help the cash strapped BEST save Rs 40 crore a year.
Anticipating another disturbance from June 1, when the new schedule will be implemented, the BEST has asked its depot managers to allow BEST Worker’s Union members to meet and collect feedback and suggestion from bus operating staff with regard to the new duty schedule.
During the BEST committee meeting, members across political parties also expressed apprehension about another possibility of a strike, and demanded that the administration stop preparing the computer-based duty schedule. However, the BEST administration said its was reworking the timetable.
“We are working on reducing the number of work hours. We are also carrying out an assessment of the infrastructure improvement that needs to be undertaken to provide better restrooms and canteens to the staff required by them during long duties,” said Om Prakash Gupta, General Manager, BEST.
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