If there are no freak weather occurrences, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking says it is prepared to run public transport services even during heavy downpour.
The undertaking has drawn up an in-house disaster management plan that includes operation of buses, manpower deployment, coordination of control room and officers, and creation of a media centre among other measures to minimise the effect of a disaster.
“The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is the disaster management authority in the city. The BEST only supports it to mitigate the effect of a disaster by providing extra transport services when required. We have identified flood-prone spots where more services will be operated in case of emergency,” said OP Gupta, the general manager of BEST.
To help stranded commuters, the administration has identified 12 troublesome locations across the city near railway stations and highways. These spots are at CST, Churchgate, Dadar-Khodadad Circle, Sion, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Andheri, Borivli, Anushakti Nagar, Mankhurd and at Navi Mumbai railway station.
The BEST is coordinating with both the Central and Western railway control rooms regarding the services. The traffic control room officers have been instructed to have regular liaison with the railway control rooms to get an advanced estimate of the period during which train services could be discontinued or delayed due to an impending disaster.
To ensure that adequate staff is available at the time of a disaster, BEST alerts its staff staying in quarters near the depot. “We have quarters in the city as well as the suburbs near the depot so that required staff is available during emergency. Besides, if some employees are stranded, arrangement is made to fetch them to work. At the same time, certain spare parts that develop faults easily during monsoon are stored in excess,” said a senior BEST official.
A media centre will be also created in the traffic control room from where messages would be disseminated to the media and citizens. The in-house disaster management team will ensure that no damage is caused to vehicles, electrical equipment and spare parts stored inside the depot.
When asked if the BEST can guarantee smooth bus services this monsoon, BEST public relations officer NA Walwalkar said, “To a great extent, services will not be affected, but if there is huge flooding in some locations, those routes will be diverted to avoid the damage to bus engines.”
City buses are the best option during monsoon
Krishnaraj Rao, 47,
Content creator, Borivli resident
During monsoon, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses are the best option to travel in the city, since autorickshaw and taxi drivers bluntly refuse to go to low-lying or flooded areas.
If it’s the peak hour and raining heavily, the auto and taximen extract three times the normal fare. Considering all these, I prefer to take buses, even if it requires hopping from one bus to other.
Last year in July, it was raining heavily and after waiting for even 30 minutes at Malad New Link road, I was not able to get an autorickshaw or taxi. It was 5.30pm. I then walked to a nearby bus stop and took a bus to reach National Park, Borivli (East). Finally, from Croma bus stop, I got the bus to Poisar depot, Borivli (West), from where I took another one to reach my destination.
I avoid taking out my car during monsoon because if it breaks down or gets stuck, then getting a mechanic is tough and also expensive. Therefore, I prefer to rely on the city’s bus services during monsoon.