300 more bus trips from today to ease hellish commutes, MSRTC to deploy more buses


After Mirror reports that people from areas such as Virar, Vasai and Badlapur have been spending up to nine hours a day travelling to and from work, Anil Parab tells MSRTC to deploy more buses.

On the day that
Mumbai Mirror reported the harrowing eight- and nine-hour commutes that people from across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) have been enduring because of restricted local train services, the Maharashtra government decided to run additional buses, starting Friday. In the wake of Mirror’s report, state transport minister Anil Parab called an emergency meeting with Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) officials on Thursday. By evening, the state’s transport body agreed to run an additional 300 bus trips from various parts of MMR to Mumbai and back. Until now, MSRTC has been running 995 bus trips every day.

The state government also said on Thursday that local trains, which so far have been off limits to everyone except certain categories of essential government workers, will now also be accessible to employees of two types of private firms — electricity companies and approved aircraft maintenance and repair firms.

With no adequate transport arrangements, Unlock 4 has become a nightmare for Mumbaikars


With no adequate transport arrangements, Unlock 4 has become a nightmare for Mumbaikars


At Thursday’s meeting, Parab discussed with MSRTC officials the hardships that people travelling by bus from far-flung areas have been facing, such as two-hour waits for a seat and harrowing five-hour journeys, a source told Mirror. Parab said, “I have asked MSRTC to inquire with every municipal corporation in MMR about the number of people from their areas who travel to work by state transport buses. We will add more buses and operate additional trips depending on the replies we get.” An MSRTC official said, “We were given feedback about the long queues that form early in the day. We have more buses in our fleet and will run as many as possible to ease people’s problems.”

MSRTC has increased its daily bus trips from 995 to 1,295 from today

MSRTC has increased its daily bus trips from 995 to 1,295 from today

Until now, MSRTC has been operating 995 bus trips a day on 62 routes from various parts of MMR, ferrying an average of 21,500 passengers a day. These include 18 routes in the western region, from places such as Virar, Vasai, Mira Road, Nallasopara and Palghar; 16 routes from Panvel and Vashi in Navi Mumbai; and 28 routes in the central region, from places such as Shahpur, Kalyan, Dombivali, Titwala, Kalwa, Thane and Badlapur.

Of the 21,500 people MSRTC has been ferrying daily, 7,700 on average are from the western suburbs, 3,200 from Navi Mumbai, and 10,450 from the central suburbs of MMR. Official figures show that only 3,250 — or 15 per cent — of these passengers are essential workers from government agencies; the remaining 18,250 work in the private sector.

On Thursday, Mirror had reported the plight of people such as 46-year-old kitchen utensil salesman Nemaram Prajapati, who for the past month-and-a-half has been spending nine hours a day travelling from Vasai to Crawford Market and back. Prajapati said he leaves for work before 5 am and returns home around 12.30 am the next day. Before the lockdown, he used to spend “only” two to three hours travelling to and from work.

Another such commuter, 21-year-old Vasai resident Nidhi Kamdar, said, “I work for eight hours and commute for eight hours. I don’t have time for my family or for myself. All my time at home is spent sleeping. I hope the trains restart soon so we don’t have to struggle this much.”

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