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Around 300 buses of Mumbai’s civil transport undertaking BEST remained off the roads due to flash strike

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Mumbai: Over 300 buses of Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) have stayed off-road in Mumbai due to the strike. BEST bus drives are on a flash strike in Mumbai. They are holding the strike over salary and other issues. The strike has affected the services in Bandra, Kurla, and Vikhroli depots. This is the second flash agitation by the contractor’s drivers in less than a month, inconveniencing the scores of passengers.

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According to officials from Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) on Wednesday, the bus depots of Vikhroli, Kurla and Bandra were affected from where the wet lease operator runs the air conditioned bus trips each day. Sources said that the staff especially drivers of a particular wet least operator is facing problem.

“On Wednesday in total 308 buses operated on wet-lease were off road and couldn’t complete their scheduled trips due to the strike,” said Manoj Varade, spokesperson, BEST Undertaking.

The situation worsened for Mumbaikars, especially residing in these parts of eastern and western suburbs, on May 18 as the total number of wet lease buses that were off-road were almost 88 percent more than on May 17 when 163 wet lease buses were off-road.

Sources said that through the day 308 buses were supposed to complete their scheduled trips which didn’t take place. The BEST officials said that they operated 113 buses to off-set the missing wet lease buses. According to BEST authorities this particular wet lease operator has 275 buses in the fleet and of this 308 bus trips could not take place on Wednesday.

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In less that a month, this is the third time that the drivers belonging to a section of wet lease bus operators, called for a sudden strike. This led to commotion as far as running of smooth bus services are concerned.

These drivers were complaining about non-disbursement of salaries by the wet lease operator. They claim that the wet lease operator have not paid salaries for sometime now and so to show their displeasure they undertook this strike.

The salaries range from Rs 18-22000 per month on an average that is paid to the drivers. They claim that provident fund is also not paid to them. The BEST officials said that a fine of at least Rs 5000 per bus which did not come on road, will be levied. This comes at a time when the BEST Undertaking has 3578 buses in its fleet out of which there are 1694 buses on wet lease.

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