The signature campaign started on Sunday and continued till Monday afternoon, said local activist Aarati Pugaonkar from Pravasi Takrar Manch. She said that scores of women, senior citizens depend on the buses to go to Nair and KEM hospitals and they have been majorly inconvenienced. “We also have school students who need buses from Delisle Road to Dadar and they suffer due to the poor frequency. On many days, their parents have to spend on a taxi which is a costly affair, with the minimum fare being Rs 25 as compared to the Rs 5 ticket of a bus,” she pointed out.
Along with BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya, she plans to meet the BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra on January 27 with the petition. “Our key demand is to restart five important bus routes which were curtailed or cancelled a few months back,” she said. This includes bus route number 74 (Mahim to Colaba), 76 (Pratiksha Nagar to Mantralaya), 61 (Machchimar Nagar to Fort area), 77 (Wadala depot to J M Mehta Marg) and route 30 (Mumbai Central to Teen Haath Naka, Thane), she said.
Said a local commuter, “In absence of these buses, we have to walk 1 to 1.5km to catch a bus on route 66 which has bad frequency. At times, two buses come bunched together at the stop and we have to wait for 20-25 minutes for another bus to arrive.”
When contacted, BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra said that if there is an issue or problem faced by commuters, the BEST will certainly take cognisance and act accordingly. “As for poor frequency and bunching of buses on route 66 we will examine the issue and ensure that there are more buses on the route with 10 minute frequency,” he said. He added that commuters can send their suggestions on route rationalisation etc on tollfree 1800227550, mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to the BEST undertaking.
Due to stoppage of the bus routes, Currey Road, Delisle Road, Dhobi ghat, Saat Rasta, Arthur Road local residents have been put to hardships, Ganacharya said. He further said that college students, who need buses to go to Wilson college or Bhawan’s college near Girgaum Chowpatty have to spend Rs 25 share taxi fare one-way. “Many buses run point to point and pass through the Delisle Road area, without stopping at the stops en route,” he said, adding that there was a need to introduce buses for children going to schools in Dadar.
Added Pugaonkar : “There are labourers and other workers from Kalbadevi who reside near Saat Rasta (Jacob circle) and they too have approached us to demand more buses for the workplace. We will submit a combined petition to the GM this week.”