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Resume bus services before starting trains, say experts

By Aroosa Ahmed, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2020 11:15 PM IST

Citizen group Mumbai Mobility Forum (MMF) has submitted suggestions to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Iqbal Chahal, of how public transport may be opened up in the city once lockdown restrictions are eased.

One of MMF’s suggestions is to increase bus services while local trains remain inoperative. Transport expert and convenor of MMF Ashok Datar said, “As more buses are introduced, we will also learn methods of social distancing in public transport. That can later be incorporated in local trains.”

In its letter to BMC, MMF wrote, “We can mobilise 6,000 idle school buses as Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has only 3,000 buses. School buses are idle and can be used during peak hours at lower cost. Operation of bus lanes on western express highway and eastern express highway for a few months will reduce traffic load on roads, increase the speed, and will work well for working class and low-income citizenry.”

MMF has suggested BMC raise fines from Rs 200 to Rs 500 under the Motor Vehicle Act. Higher fines would discourage people from taking out private vehicles, said MMF.

The gap between the requirement and supply of on-street parking lots was also highlighted by MMF. “Today, on-street parking lots are under 80. We need at least 600 to make an impact on driving and parking behaviour. … Electronic payment and mobile application to locate idle parking spaces can be introduced,’’ it said.

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