Mumbai Floods Show Why BEST Buses Need Another Chance

Flawed Parking Policy
The single biggest reason the BEST is in dire straits is that due to severe congestion on the roads, its services are hopelessly delayed. BMC consultants Lea Associates released a mobility study of the city last year and reported that between 2001 and 2015, the total number of vehicles has increased from 1.03 million to 2.55 million, which is almost 2.5 times.
During the same period, the total number of private vehicles – two wheelers and cars – has increased from 0.79 million to 2.27 million, nearly three times. It concluded:
Mobility study by Lea Associates This is alarming. The possible reasons could be convenience of the private vehicles for travel and easy auto finance. The other possible reasons could be overcrowding levels of suburban and bus modes and project implementation delays of public transport modes.
The Sena-BJP combine at the city and state level has no qualms in blaming the “inefficiency” of the undertaking for the mess that it is in, without recognising that it is its anti-people stance in permitting the reckless increase in number of cars that is largely responsible. This is reflected in its antediluvian parking policy which, till very recently, permitted cars and even private buses to park freely on the roads, day and night, obstructing the passage of buses in the process.
While parking fees fetch a derisory Rs 8 crore a year, it should be possible to increase these to Rs 1,000 crore, at least half of which should go to the BEST. This is the case with London’s inner city congestion charges.

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