To ensure social distancing rules are followed strictly inside the buses, the management body of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking, has announced disciplinary action against drivers and conductors, if they are found ferrying passengers exceeding the 50 per cent limit in the buses.
Amid the pandemic outbreak, with the suspension of the suburban railways, it's the red buses of the BEST which has become the lifeline of the Mumbaikars. However, adhering to safety norms and to ensure that social distancing rules are followed inside the buses, BEST is only allowing 50 per cent of the passengers of the sitting capacity inside the buses, with not more than five standees.
A conventional BEST bus has a seating capacity of 50 passengers. Now, a BEST bus takes only 30 passengers. However, being the only mode of public transport, many buses get overcrowded during rush hours. “The management has instructed the drivers and conductors to not allow more than 30 passengers in the conventional buses. If they do it will be a breach and the management will take strict action,” said BEST spokesperson, Manoj Varade.
The BEST has also deployed traffic officers at various bus stops across the city to monitor the buses.
The undertaking has received complaints of overcrowding in the buses on its online portal and Twitter handle ever since the lockdown was eased. "People force themselves inside the buses. It is not always the conductor and drivers’ fault,” said a BEST official.