Press Releases : BEST thing : reduce taxis, rickshaws

BEST thing : reduce taxis, rickshaws
December 6, 2007 2:18 PM

Shweta Karnik

Cab unions say there has not been any increase in either its or auto fleets.

If BEST general manager Uttam Khobragade has his way the number taxis and rickshaws plying on city roads will reduce very soon.

In a proposal to the state government, Khobragade has asked the number of taxis and rickshaws be reduced by almost 50 per cent over a period five years.  "They not only add to the traffic congestion but also increase pollution.  If this is not addressed now, the situation will worsen in future," said Khobragade.

"It is time we encouraged people to make use of public transport," he said.

Khobragade has also approached the traffic police to ensure that taxis and rickshaws are not parked in front of bus shelters.

However, general secretary of the Bombay Taximens' Union, Al Quadros is not impressed.  "What right does the BEST GM have in reducing the number of taxis and rickshaws in Mumbai?" questioned Quadros.

"There has not been an increase in the fleet of taxis and rickshaws since 1997 as the issuance of permits was frozen. Also, we haven't demanded an increase in the Fleet," Quadros said.

When asked about the new cabs introduced under different schemes MERU cabs, taxis operated by the Mumbai Gold Taxi (MGT) or even the taxis for woman by woman - Quadros said, "There are almost 28,000 permits that have lapsed as they were not renewed.  On February 21 the Regional Transport Office had stated that all permits which have not been renewed for over two years stand lapsed.  However, companies like MERU and MGT had approached and got some of these permits renewed."  Currently 300 of the 28,000 permits have been renewed.

Refuting allegations that the undertaking has lost its passenger base after the 'reduction of routes' Khobragade said, "We haven't reduced the existing routes but have restructured the bus operations.  All those places where we found that the load factor (number of passengers) is relatively less, we have reduced the frequency.  This has not only helped in reducing expenditure but has also increased passengers and also our income."

Imported bus service

King Long luxury buses procured by the BEST from China under the Bus Rapid Transport System will be rolled out by December end.  Of 20 such buses procured, 12 have already reached BEST depot in Colaba.  These buses would be operational between, Thane - Churchgate, Oshiwara - Bandra Kurla Complex and between Dahisar and Churchgate

Shuttle Services from rly stations

BEST proposes to start 'shuttle services' that would cover a distance of two to three kms form the suburban railway station.
"These essentially are short distance routes where the demand is more.  We have identified 25 locations including Bandra, Andheri, Malad, Kandivili, Borivli, Sion, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Chembur," said Khobragade.

BEST would deploy its 'midi buses' and the service will be operated on 'pre-ticketing basis.'  "People will have to buy a ticket before boarding.  The fare for this service will be Rs. 3," he said.