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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mumbai: Commuters feel the heat at bus stops without shelters

It is claimed that the proposal to construct more bus shelters is stuck because of lack of funds and the denial of permission from the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.

Written by Neha Kulkarni | Mumbai | Updated: May 21, 2016 4:04:10 am

EVEN AS Mumbai weather swings from the sweltering heat in summers to torrential downpour during monsoons, commuters who use bus services on a regular basis are generally left to their ownselves to deal with the vagaries of nature as there are only a few sheltered bus stops across the city.

Public representatives, however, are now speaking out about the need for increasing such bus shelters across the city. “There is an urgent need for proper bus shelters for commuters who wait long near the bus-stop poles on a regular basis. Especially, during the summer season and in the coming monsoon, commuters are in dire need of such shelters, which would not only offer them shade but also enable them to sit for a while,” said Sandesh Kondvilkar, a BEST committee member.

The concept of constructing a bus shelter for every stop has further attained importance owing to an increase in the number of routes and stops in the past couple of years. Though every bus stop requires such a bus-shelter, problems of congestion and traffic after their construction on the footpath is what worries the corporation, some BEST members have claimed.

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Even the BEST acknowledges the need for having a greater number of bus shelters across the city. “Constructing bus shelters remain a necessity for commuters, specially senior citizens who require to sit while waiting for buses. Apart from this, BEST needs the financial help from the municipal corporation. Constructing a proper bus shelter requires at least Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. We plan to construct many of these around the city and ensure that the design is of high quality, so that the shelters do not take up a lot of the footpath space,” said Jagdish Patil, General Manager, BEST.

There are a total of 5,862 bus stops of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply Transport (BEST) Undertaking in the city, of which 2,584, or 44 per cent, do not have a bus shelter.

The area with the highest number of bus stops where commuters have nothing to guard themselves against heat or rain are in Central Mumbai.

Of the total 1,563 bus stops in the area, only 613 (39.21per cent) have bus queue shelters. In the eastern suburbs, out of 1,344 bus stops, only 585 (43.5 per cent) have bus shelters.

The comfort level of travellers in the western zone is slightly better as 717 (57.49 per cent) of the total 1,247 bus stops have shelters. The highest number of bus shelters are in Mumbai city, which has 1,708 busstops. Out of these, 1,363 (80 per cent) are sheltered.

It is claimed that the proposal to construct more bus shelters is stuck because of lack of funds and the denial of permission from the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation.

“The BMC had last year rejected our request of constructing around 700 bus shelters after four years of continuous demand. They had even given reasons of space constraint. Surprisingly, the BMC fails to make efforts in removing hawkers from footpaths. They take up a lot of walking space, more than a bus shelter,” Kedar Hombalkar, a BEST member said.

Commenting on how construction of bus shelter is also a commercial decision, Rishi Agarwal, a transport expert, said, “The dearth of enough bus shelters in the city is an issue which needs to get highlighted. Sheltered bus stops are only erected at places where there are chances of making good money with advertising. Thus, one can find bus stops, accompanied with big banners, on the lanes which even have a very poor ridership. On the other hand, almost 20-30 people waiting in the hot sun near a bus pole remains a regular scene in some areas. One needs to get a clear account of such visible discrepancies.”

The western zone and suburbs in the city including Worli, Bandra, Colaba accounted for a good number of bus-stops on major bus routes. The remaining are supplied with a bus pole that indicates the service of the buses on that particular route.

BUS STOP SIZES VARY

Sheltered bus stops are essential as shades in summer and monsoons for facilitation of seating and for grouping commuters at a specific halt where the bus can stop. Reasons cited for not having buses is lack of funds, congestion on footpaths, crowing of space by vehicles, uprooting of bus-stops for personal use, visible discrepancies for advertisements.

Sheltered bus stops are essential as shades in summer and monsoons for facilitation of seating and for grouping commuters at a specific halt where the bus can stop. Reasons cited for not having buses is lack of funds, congestion on footpaths, crowing of space by vehicles, uprooting of bus-stops for personal use, visible discrepancies for advertisements.

 

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