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Mumbai: Wait time at few bus stops hits one hour, complain commuters; protest organised at Andheri | Mumbai News – Times of India



MUMBAI: Wait time at some of the bus stops in Mumbai has now increased from 45 minutes, a fortnight ago, to over an hour in the past few days, a section of commuters told TOI on Sunday.
This is primarily due to the BEST fleet shrinking while no new buses have arrived as per the schedule, sources said.
Aamchi Mumbai Aamchi BEST announced on Sunday it will be organising a protest and signature campaign for thousands of commuters facing problems due to bus shortage and poor frequency, which is a fallout of the depletion of the bus fleet lately. The campaign will be carried out at Andheri West bus station today.
A regular bus commuter and bus fan Shubham Padave said: “For the last two to three days, I faced a long wait of one hour at the bus stop to get a public transport to my destination in Andheri.” Another commuter said that bus frequency was badly hit at a few places in the suburbs, especially during peak hours. One such example was a bus from Garware chowk in Andheri to Majas depot where commuters waited for an hour for a bus during evening peak hours, where route numbers 308, and 339 have poor frequency, a commuter said.
Commuters have also complained of huge crowds on routes in suburbs where the old double deckers have been completely phased out and there is nearly a month-long wait for 15 brand new electric AC double deckers to arrive in the suburbs.
A senior BEST official however claimed that buses were running at proper frequency, and depot managers at 27 places across the city have been instructed to deploy more buses on busy routes.
Another official from BEST traffic division admitted that despite the schedule of bus deliveries for the first week of October, “no new buses have arrived and on the other hand, one old bus was being phased out almost every day – with fleet size reducing to 2969” which is lowest in 15 years. The BEST has now received fresh bids for 250 electric AC single-decker buses which it plans to procure in record time, with a prototype by November-December and buses in the fleet between January and March, sources said.
Experts said that at one point (in 2010-2011) BEST had 4385 public buses on the road. Since then, the number of BEST-owned buses has declined to approximately 1300 today. There are around 1600 contractual buses, many of them smaller than the BEST buses that they have replaced. In other words, the number of buses, as well as the carrying capacity of BEST has declined now despite the high demand. There is an urgent need to increase the fleet with bigger buses, they added.
BEST has drawn a roadmap to have at least 1,000 single-decker longer buses and at least 200 e-double-deckers by the end of the financial year.



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