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Revive Mumbai’s suburban local train services in phases: Experts

12:52 AM Sep 19, 2020 | Pratip Acharya

Even as the state-run buses started to ply on full-seat capacity from Friday, urban planners and transport experts suggested the need to restart suburban local train services for the general public in a phase-wise manner.

Keeping in mind the pandemic situation, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) was operating its buses at 50 per cent capacity after it resumed services on May 22. “If they are allowing MSRTC buses to run on full capacity, then why aren't the trains being reopened for the general public? The state can start in a phased manner. This will reduce the burden on the buses," said transport expert, Vidyadhar Date.

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Currently, the MSRTC is running 550 buses throughout the city. Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking is the only lifeline transport service.

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A senior BEST official told FPJ that from next week, the Undertaking may also run their buses on full seating capacity in Mumbai.

"Operating buses with full seating capacity is fine, as long as there is a check on standees. Also allowing more people on trains will act as a crowd controlling cap in the buses,” Date stated.

Senior transport expert and Urban Planner, Sudhir Badami said that buses in Mumbai are inadequate vis-a-vis the population. “BEST has a fleet of 3,500 buses. Even if they start full-seating capacity they won't be able to maintain social distancing policies because people will get in anyway like how they are doing now," Badami said. "The only way to eradicate this issue is to bring in more buses and provide dedicated bus lanes," he added.

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