The rally originated from the Veer Kotwal Udyan at Dadar (West) saw hundreds of BEST workers march towards the Wadala depot. The march was called by Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti which comprise of members of the BEST workers in the Mumbai collaborately with the citizenship group “Aamchi Mumbai, Aamchi BEST”.
The rally was also the first display of agitation by BEST staffers after the bus fares were slashed on July 2019.
The action committee has demanded immediate discontinuation of the conductor-less buses and a merger of the undertaking with the budget of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in the next budget.
“BEST is running under huge loss, many of the workers don’t get their salaries on time and the BEST administration is reluctant to help us. Today’s rally aimed to attract CM’s attention, so that he intervenes and finds a solution for our problems,” said Samir Deshmukh, a working member of the BEST union.
The BEST action committee has also raised objection on the buses which are being operated without conductors. At present, the transport undertaking is running feeder buses on point to point routes which has conductors only on the origin and the destination bus stops.
The members of the committee also demanded a revised pay-scale and opposed the idea of privatisation.
Meanwhile, the BEST has not taken a decision to roll out late night bus services to provide extra connectivity to malls and eateries with different parts of the city.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has initiated the “Mumbai 24 hours” scheme from January 27 which will have malls, restaurants and eateries operating all throughout the night.
“We have not yet decided whether we will implement extra night long bus services. The BEST management has not decided anything and once there is a decision we will announce it officially releasing press releases,” said senior BEST spokesperson, Manoj Varade.