BEST has resumed operations of 369 out of 400 CNG buses that were withdrawn after a fire broke out in one of them last month. BEST officials said the decision to withdraw the buses has been taken to ensure the safety of passengers. After an inspection by the manufacturer of the buses, the undertaking decided to resume services gradually.
In this context, on February 22 at around 6.55 pm, a non-AC single-decker caught fire in Andheri East, the third such incident in a month. Thankfully the car was empty at that time.
In the wake of the fire, the authorities withdrew 400 buses provided by the contractor, causing inconvenience to commuters to a great extent. Vehicles depart from depots at Dharavi, Santacruz, Majes and Pratiksha Nagar and operate on 32 routes mainly in the city and western suburbs.
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While the resumption of services is certainly going to ease the situation for commuters, BEST still needs to carry out regular checks regarding the maintenance of these buses, which are on wet-lease, which means they are hired by private contractors. are owned by drivers who select their drivers and are also responsible for maintenance.
Attention should be paid to senior officials who highlighted the need to check these buses daily.
A former BEST president said that proper technical inspection should be done regularly as it is prone to problems.
It is important that the construction team inspects these buses at regular intervals and more importantly, BEST confirms the findings.
Through this multi-layered process, where BEST re-verifies all the claims made by the private agency, an additional safety net is created for the travelers. This is not to be paranoid or snarky, but just to be doubly and even thrice sure. When it comes to the safety of the citizens, this is the best approach.