BEST buses in Mumbai are stalling traffic. There are major traffic jams due to BEST buses breaking down in the middle of road, say traffic police.
Sources in the BEST admit that there has been a significant rise in the rate of breakdown of running buses due to lack of staff to maintain and repair them.
“Did you ever see a BEST bus stranded in the middle of the road in the past? But now this happens every few days and this is leading to major traffic jams in the city,” Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member said.
“The rate of bus breakdowns has gone up from two per cent to nine per cent due to poor maintenance. All this is because of lack of adequate staff. The existing staff is overburdened and unable to complete routine maintenance schedules.”
Ganacharya raised the issue at the committee meeting with the new BEST general manager Omprakash Gupta.
“I saw a bus stranded outside Andheri station in the middle of the road, which stopped traffic on the entire route leading to a jam. This never used to happen. Buses were either towed away quickly or repaired on the spot. But the standards seem to be falling,” Ganacharya said.
The BEST owns a fleet of nearly 4,500 buses.
“We had warned the administration that just buying new buses and increasing the fleet will not be sufficient. When you add buses, there has to be parallel development of other factors like the staff, maintenance network and facilities and infrastructure to repair them,” he added.