The drivers and conductors of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses are already feeling the heat even before the authorities start placing the toll free help line number inside buses.
The BEST Workers Union has demanded withdrawal of the help line number 1800-227-550, which was started in October 2009. However, the decision to promote the number was taken last week. “It is found that most of the complaints are biased against the drivers and conductors. The administration is taking action without verifying the genuineness of the complaint, thus resulting in bogus calls,” said Sharad Rao, general secretary, BEST Workers Union.
They have threatened to implement the rule under the Motor Vehicle Act, which says that BEST buses can carry standees of 40% of the actual seating capacity of the vehicle, which comes to 14.
However, the BEST administration doesn’t seem to be paying heed to the threats. “We are strengthening the system of putting up help line numbers in the buses for the benefit of the commuters. We are not concerned with what a union leader has to say,” said BEST chairman, Sanjay Potnis.
BEST officials stated that one of the callers complained that drivers halt buses after the bus stop, especially when there is a signal close to the stop. "The conductor always refuses to accept higher denomination notes and demands only change to be given. He even asks the commuter to get down at times," said Pradip Dange, a bus commuter from Charni Road.
BEST sources said they receive around three complaints on a daily average either on the help line number or at bus depots and stations. The BEST might also make use of the TV screens put inside buses, which are normally used for showing advertisements and talk shows.