An Innovative Approach to Resurrect BEST Part1
Efforts are on by officers in BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking ( BEST) to reduce its losses. As on date, BEST has made two proposals, both centred around increasing the bus fares. The first is increasing the minimum fare from Rs8 to Rs10 and removing concessions being currently offered, discontinuing services of buses heavy on maintenance and not recruiting new staff on retirement of about 1,600 employees this year. Outsourcing staff just to ‘save’ BEST is being pursued.
 
The second proposal only hikes the minimum fare to Rs12. Both proposals do not look at improving services. The fare hike proposal apparently has been motivated by the thinking that the number of BEST commuters has touched rock bottom, are captive and can afford the hike. There is no vision to improve service in terms of reducing congestion in the buses and waiting periods at bus stops. The objective appears to merely survive and not to grow.  
 
Here is an innovative plan that looks at quality of life and people’s mobility.
 
BEST historically has been a transport service provider in the first decade of the twentieth century. But electricity generation was a natural corollary to operate the erstwhile horse driven tramcars by using electric motors. Since BEST was purchasing electricity in bulk, it began supplying the surplus to private consumers in Bombay, as it was known then. With the passage of time, the electricity supply section became as important as the transport section. So long as Mumbai remained a public transport-dominated society, BEST’s transport wing was able to operate a self-sustaining transport service. 
 
With the opening up of the Indian economy in 1991 and  Maruti and subsequently a host of car manufacturers entering the market, the roads began to get congested. Initially the peak period used to be, as one says it, the peak hour. Today, it is three to four hours. In the evening peak period, it takes about four-and-a-half hours to travel from Churchgate to Borivali, a distance of 43km, averaging a speed of less than 10kmph. During the 110-odd monsoon days, it drops further to about 8kmph. 
 
At such low speeds, bus passengers are subjected to tremendous hardship. Firstly, due to mostly unusable footpaths, walking to even the nearest bus stop is not safe or comfortable. Peak period bus timings would become unpredictable and waiting was long. When the bus did arrive, often it would be packed, resulting in a further wait for a less congested bus. 
 
On Fare Structure – current and suggested herein
 
The Table below shows the prevailing bus fare (revised on 1 July 2016). 
 
 
The minimum adult fare is Rs8 for a travel distance of 2km, Rs10 for the up to 4km, Rs14 for trip up to 6km, Rs16 for trip up to 8km and Rs18 for trip up to 10km. Though many routes are long distance, most people probably travel between 3km to 10km. This is evident from the fact that 57% of the population resides within 3km of their place of work, 69% within 5 km and 82% within 10km. The Comprehensive Transport Study Report of 2008 (CTS-2008) of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) also states that 44% of the population does not use any mode of transport and 3% use non-motorised mode.
 
People find walking in general beyond 1.5km not comfortable and 5km is a reasonable distance for cycling.
 
It would be reasonable to assume that 10% within the 3km range, 12% in the 3km to 5km range and 13% between 5km to 10km range use motorized road and rail transport, totalling 35%. The remaining 18% would generally comprise rail and private motorized modes, for travels beyond 10kms though some would still be using the road public transport.
 
If we wish to estimate number of people spending Rs20 per day or less on travel in BEST, one will have to get the actual ticket sales of values of Rs8 and Rs10 per day. However, with the above statistics, it could be 10%x(1/3) + 12%x(0.35) + 13%x(0.25) = 3.33% + 4.2% + 3.25% = 10.78% i.e. 13.5 lakh commuters. It is said that about 65% of BEST commuters are short distance travellers. This comes to about 18 lakh commuters. Currently total BEST commuters number about 28 lakh. This used to be 45 lakh just about four years back. There are several reasons that can be attributed to this fall, some because of extraneous reasons and some due to conservative attitudes of BEST and the Maharashtra Government policy implementation.
 
It is part of this 18 lakh commuters, provided they do not make an additional bus-boarding, who will be paying more per day if they were to accept an innovative fare structure being suggested here. Will they be gaining out of this fare structure? Will this innovative fare structure benefit  all current BEST bus commuters and also attract more? Will BEST benefit? What is this innovative fare structure? This will be discussed in the next part of sdthisarticle.
 
(Sudhir Badami is a civil engineer and transportation analyst. He is on Government of Maharashtra’s Steering Committee on BRTS for Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee on BRTS for Mumbai. He is also member of Research & MIS Committee of Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority. He was member of Bombay High Court appointed erstwhile Road Monitoring Committee (2006-07). While he has been an active campaigner against Noise for more than a decade, he is a strong believer in functioning democracy. He can be contacted on email at sudhirbadami@gmail.com )

 

 

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    Sudhir P Badami

    2 years ago

    This is Part 1 of two part article

    Shunglu panel slams Delhi government over illegal appointments
    New Delhi, In a major set back to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ahead of the April 23 civic polls, a panel appointed by former Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung has accused the party-led Delhi government of nepotism in making appointments, including that of Health Minister Satyendar Jain's daughter as an advisor for its flagship Mohalla Clinic project.
     
    The three-member committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) V.K. Shunglu reviewed 404 files of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government and alleged that there were irregularities with various appointments.
     
    The report accessed by IANS questioned Soumya Jain's appointment as an adviser to Mission Director of the key health initiative that has won global praise for bringing free healthcare to the doorsteps of the city residents.
     
    "Soumya, who is an architect, was made advisor of the Delhi State Health Mission. However, she asserted her expertise with regard to Mohalla Clinics even though her CV does not support her claim. Second, the memorandum of Association of State Health Society (Delhi) and rules and bylaws do not support such appointment," the panel said in its 101-page report.
     
    "The file contained no evidence of who approved her appointment.
     
    "These events can only be explained by the fact that Soumya is the daughter of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain."
     
    The Shunglu Committee was set up by Jung in August last year after the Delhi High Court gave primacy to the Lt Governor in Delhi administrative affairs. The report was submitted to the LG's office in November last year, weeks before Jung resigned on December 22.
     
    Jung's tenure was marked by a sharp escalation in tensions between his office, which reported to the union Home Ministry, and the AAP government of Kejriwal.
     
    Jung had called over 400 files on decisions taken by the AAP government in Delhi for a review.
     
    The committee also raised questions on the appointment of Nikunj Agarwal, a relative of Chief Minister Kejriwal's wife, as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the Health Minister.
     
    "The appointment of Nikunj Agarwal as OSD to the Health Minister on co-terminus basis is a case of violation of recruitment procedure and lack of authority. Co-terminus appointment can be only made with the approval of the Lt Governor but the matter is not placed before the Lt Governor. The case does not seem fit for ex-post facto approval," the report said.
     
    The committee also questioned a cabinet decision of allotting government-owned 206, Rouse Avenue bungalow to the AAP as its office.
     
    "Since land is a 'reserved' subject, this decision should be deemed null and void," the report said, referring to land in Delhi not falling in the purview of the city government.
     
    "The elected government doesn't have any power to deal with the subject of land, let alone allot it."
     
    The report also questioned Kejriwal's decision to give additional charges of Secretary (Services) and Secretary (General Administration Department) to Rajendra Kumar who was then posted as Secretary to Chief Minister.
     
    "Rajendra Kumar was directed to hold additional charge of both the portfolios. This decision facilitated many subsequent actions which may not have been otherwise possible.
     
    "It is a different matter that this order was ab-initio null and void but remained in force till Kumar was suspended in June 2016. The subject of services does not belong to the Delhi government," the report said.
     
    The committee questioned the allotment of bungalows to Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal and MLA Akhilesh Pati Tripathi.
     
    "Maliwal was provided accommodation though in the ordinary course she was not entitled to it as per provisions of the DCW... a residuary provision, can be invoked in a case as an exception to the general rule but, only the Lt. Governor can approve such an exception. However, in this case Lt. Governor's approval was not taken."
     
    The Shunglu panel said in the case of Tripathi, it was decided to allot a Type-V furnished accommodation to him. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Will apologise to Parliament, but not Air India official, says Shiv Sena MP
    New Delhi, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad, who was banned from flying after he assaulted an Air India official with his footwear, said on Thursday that he had been "abused and manhandled" by the Air India staffer last month. He offered to apologise for his behaviour in Parliament but not to the 60-year-old flight official.
     
    Gaikwad demanded that the flying ban on him should be lifted. He got support from other opposition parties. 
     
    Gaikwad, who told TV channels after the March 23 incident that he beat the Air India official with his sandal "25 times", said in the House that on the day of the incident he was made to travel in economy class despite having a business class ticket. 
     
    He said after the Pune-Delhi flight landed in the national capital, he asked for the complaint register.
     
    "After 45 minutes, an officer came. I talked to him calmly, but he asked who are you. I asked him who are you, he said he is the 'father of Air India'. When I said that I was a politician, one of them said 'But you are not Narendra Modi. Are you?'" said the Shiv Sena MP, giving his version of the incident.
     
    The MP alleged that the airline staff held him by the collar after which he pushed him.
     
    "Even the Air hostess has given a statement that the incident happened because of the airline staff's misbehaviour. There is a video as well."
     
    "I am staring at a ban across all airlines," Gaikwad said and claimed that the charges against him are "unfounded" and should be taken back. 
     
    "I have been charged under IPC 308, which is for 'attempt to murder'. Was I holding any weapon?.. Is this justice," he added. 
     
    "If the dignity of Parliament has been hurt, I apologise to the Parliament, but not to the officer," he said.
     
    Gaikwad had assaulted duty manager R. Sukumar for not being given a business class seat on an all-economy flight, and was slapped with a flight ban across all airlines.
     
    Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju reiterated that the ban was not for a Member of Parliament, but for a passenger and safety was most important in flights. This led to a protest by Shiv Sena members, and the House was adjourned twice. 
     
    Gaikawad also said that different tickets were booked in his name by other people later, adding that the Aadhaar or other identity cards should be made mandatory for booking an airline ticket.
     
    "Probe the whole incident, see who is guilty, and lift the flying ban on me," he urged.
     
    The MP was backed by Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete who questioned how a charge of attempt to murder can be slapped against the MP.
     
    "Get the incident probed. But without a probe the punishment was given. How can this government of Narendra Modi, the government of people, put restrictions on an MP without knowing the truth?" Geete asked.
     
    The Civil Aviation Minister however said safety was paramount in a flight.
     
    "There is a process of law and it will take its own course. When I made submission to the House (earlier), I said it is not an MP, but a passenger. I have nothing to add here," Raju said.
     
    "If you want to defuse the situation you can, if you want to aggravate the situation, you can. In machines where people fly, safety is important and safety will not be compromised," the Minister said.
     
    Dissatisfied with his reply, members from Shiv Sena protested.
     
    Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House twice amid the ruckus.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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