MUMBAI: Scores of commuters in Mumbai faced inconvenience on Friday morning as over 170 mini buses operated by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) remained off roads in the city following a flash strike by a section of drivers over salary issue, an official said.
The BEST tried to reduce the passengers’ woes by diverting buses in the affected areas, he said. “Agitated over non-payment of salary, the employees of BEST’s private contractor firm – MP Group – refused to operate the buses and as a result, 175 mini buses from Vikhroli, Wadala and Bandra depots did not ply,” the BEST official said.
BEST undertaking provides bus services in Mumbai and it is the second biggest mode of public transport in the city after the suburban local trains. Presently, it ferries over 30 lakh commuters with its fleet of around 3,500 buses, including those hired from different private contractors.
On Thursday morning, too, a section of employees of the BEST’s private contractor had refused to operate buses over the same issue. However, they had called off their agitation after the officials held talks with them.
On Friday, a number of passengers faced inconvenience due to the sudden strike. Those inconvenienced included patients visiting KEM and TATA hospitals, who take mini buses after getting down from suburban trains at Parel and Dadar stations.
“In order to reduce the inconvenience faced by people, BEST diverted buses from other depots and also operated 86 own buses from other depots,” BEST spokesperson Manoj Varade said, adding that action will be taken against the private contractor for violation of the contract terms and conditions.
Four out of the five depots, from which the mini buses of the contractor operated, were affected due to the flash strike, he said. Out of 275 mini buses of the MP group, 201 remained in depots, he said, adding that the drivers of the MP group called off the strike late afternoon.