MUMBAI: Commuters and transport activists have complained about the bad condition of MSRTC buses plying in the city. At many places, they are more visible than BEST buses. There are complaints of poor lighting and unhygienic buses, but BEST administration is happy they came to the rescue of passengers during Covid.
BEST has taken 1,000 buses from MSRTC on lease. “It is a temporary arrangement during Covid, and may be taken off once the situation is normal,” said a senior official, adding, “MSRTC buses helped us improve frequency of buses on many routes during peak hours. They ferry around 5 lakh commuters daily and have reduced the wait time at bus-stops. The buses are not that bad,” the official said.
Sources said BEST plans to propose to the government to retain 500 buses on lease for a longer period. MSRTC officials insisted the buses were well-maintained.
“This is uncalled for. The buses are not clean, and this is not what commuters want during Covid,” said BMC Opposition leader Ravi Raja. He requested BEST to take the issue seriously and ensure people get good buses. “In fact, BEST can take school buses, which are lying idle, on lease. They are in very good condition,” he said. School bus-owners are willing to operate as public transport till schools return to normal.
Civic activist Irfan Machiwala said he he found them “unfit”. “At night, the buses are dimly lit. They are not clean, and from outside are in very bad condition. Some of them look like they are due for scrap,” he said.
A BEST commuter said the buses were in horrible condition. “Many are not roadworthy and not fit to run on Mumbai’s roads. They should be sent to the scrapyard. Bus passengers in India’s financial capital deserve better,” the commuter said.
At a recent meeting, BEST committee members complained of unclean MSRTC buses.