Regulating parking in Mumbai and better coordination among all nodal agencies in the city can help the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking revive its lost glory, said transport expert Ashok Datar.
“For a city that has nearly 1 crore daily commuters, the BEST’s bus service is better compared to other metros,” said Datar, who attributed the BEST’s drop in passengers from 45 lakh to 30 lakh to increasing use of private vehicles.
“Giving sustainable and reliable public transport to the citizens is the responsibility of all the nodal agencies and not just the BEST. This includes the civic body, the MMRDA and the transport department,” Datar told HT.
“An efficient bus service in the city will not only reduce congestion, but also air-pollution,” he added.
According to Datar, the government is to be blamed for increase in the number of private vehicles on city roads. “The government failed to support and revive the BEST, which was once the most popular public transport among the masses,” he said.
The transport expert said instead of controlling illegal parking by enforcing stringent laws, the government was coming up with plans that would increase congestion on roads.
“Once parking is controlled, people will prefer public transport, instead of opting for personal vehicles,” said Datar.
Datar said constructing a coastal road at the cost Rs12,000 crore will cater to about 2 lakh motorists, most of them private.
“Instead of spending so much of the public’s money on the coastal road, the government should focus on improving traffic and parking discipline,” he said.
“Traffic discipline is going from bad to worse, which is evident in the number of accidents that take place in Mumbai. To control this, efficient public transport is the only solution,” said Datar.