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BEST driving home a message on road safety

mumbai Updated: May 06, 2011 02:13 IST
Shashank Rao
Shashank Rao
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) is grappling with a serious problem of bus accidents. Worried, the undertaking has pledged to take stringent steps to help reduce, if not completely put an end, to incidents of rash driving and speeding.

To begin with, the BEST has to decided to install a device — speed governors — in its 4,700-odd bus fleet.

The Bombay high court had recently directed the state government to fit speed governors in public transport vehicles such as BEST buses and taxis.

“We will soon begin installing the speed governors,” said OP Gupta, general manager, BEST.

Between April 2010 and March 2011, nearly 55 people were killed in bus accidents. At least 207 people suffered major injuries and 507 people were badly hurt in the same period.

Officials claimed that bus drivers create nuisance on the roads by speeding and attempting to overtake vehicles, which result in accidents. “On an average, there have been five deaths due to BEST buses in the past year. They [drivers] drive rashly and overtake other vehicles and at times even break signals,” said Ravi Raja, BEST committee member.

However, the onus can’t be only on the drivers, officials said. Narrow roads coupled with work on the Metro rail, monorail and other infrastructure projects leave little space for buses to ply, they pointed out.

“Also, there has been an increase in the number of two-wheelers on city roads,” said Dilip Patel, member, BEST Committee. “Most often two-wheelers are involved in bus accidents.”

Apart from that, the BEST has decided to increase its staff of ticket checkers, ticket inspectors and traffic inspectors to keep a check on rash drivers. They will register complaints against the driver, note down the bus number and inform higher-ups about incidents on the road. “Ticket inspectors will be positioned at different bus stops across the city to monitor the bus timings. They will also ensure that it leaves the depot or the bus station on time so that the driver doesn’t have to speed,” explained a BEST official.

Proper shelter and restroom facilities will also be provided. The BEST has fitted mini-fans in front of the driver’s seat. The idea of the Bus Rapid Transit System was proposed to reduce accidents, but the BEST said it wouldn’t be able to implement it unless there was proper infrastructure.