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We were the only public transport functional during 2005 deluge

india Updated: Jun 10, 2012 00:40 IST
Prajakta Chavan

Increasing fleet of buses on short notice remains a challenge for BEST during monsoon. Do you have enough buses?

During the massive downpour in 2005, we were the only service which was operating even at the time of heavy rains. This monsoon, we have formed a fleet of 425 buses which can be withdrawn from their routine routes and diverted to heavily rushed points in case of emergency. The present fleet of buses is 4,700, of which around 10% are not on the road due to maintenance, minor repairs, painting, RTO clearance and so on, but the rest 4,200 always are.

The BEST was recently complaining about incurring huge losses. Can it ensure maintenance of buses during monsoon?

Irrespective of the insufficient financial resources, BEST is maintaining its buses. Ours is the only government transport body that has vehicle life of 15 years; all the other government transport bodies are allowed bus life of only eight years. This is because of our regular maintenance.

Other than routine measures, will there be any monsoon-specific checks of buses?

Checks done during monsoon are on the body and roof for leakages, wipers, body channels, tyres, suspension, rings, gear bags as well as the driver’s cabin.

What can the commuters expect from BEST this monsoon?

Commuters can expect our services even at the time of calamity. In 2005, our staff rescued passengers by using ropes; we even provided accommodation to stranded passengers at our bus depots and offered them food.

Buses tend to be late during rains. Is there any mechanism to inform the stranded passengers at bus stops about the delayed bus?

We don’t have any such mechanism at present, but are working on the GPRS system, with the help of which we would be able to inform passengers at bus stops about the expected arrival time of the bus. This system is expected to start by next monsoon.

Any message for passengers?

Passengers should have some patience as there are genuine traffic problems during rains. The vehicles on the road move slower, visibility is poor and therefore BEST drivers also drive slowly. Several factors affect the functioning of BEST. However, passengers facing any problem can call us on our help line — 1800 227550.