BEST Strike Update: WR, CR & MSRTC running extra services, late students to be allowed for exams

BEST Strike Update: WR, CR & MSRTC running extra services, late students to be allowed for exams
WR & CR will run 10 additional services while MSRTC deployed 37 extra buses

Western Railway (WR), Central Railway (CR) and MSRTC came to the rescue of lakhs of commuters who were left stranded during peak hours on Tuesday morning as BEST buses stayed off roads amid workers’ strike.

Unfortunately for citizens, the strike was a major success for unions as not one of the 2,800 buses scheduled to depart as of 9 am had left. Further, only ten out of the 7,000 plus drivers and conductors turned up.

With an estimated 25 lakh commuters affected by the strike, there was severe overcrowding at railway stations and long queues at auto and taxi stands earlier today.

Extra Services

To cope with the increased commuter rush, both Western & Central Railway announced additional suburban services today. The services are:

Additional WR Services:

1. Churchgate (departure 12:45 pm) to Borivali (arrival 1:35 pm) [Fast]
2. Borivali (departure 1:51 pm) to Churchgate (arrival 2:30 pm) [Fast]

3. Churchgate (departure 2:35 pm) to Andheri (arrival 3:08 pm) [Slow]
4. Andheri (departure 3:18 pm) to Churchgate (arrival 4:01 pm) [Slow]

5. Churchgate (departure 3:13 pm) to Goregaon (arrival 4:05 pm) [Slow]
6. Goregaon (departure 4:12 pm) to Churchgate (arrival 5:13 pm) [Slow]

Additional CR Services:

1. Thane (departure 1:44 pm) to CSMT (arrival 2:40 pm) [Slow]
2. CSMT (departure 2:49 pm) to Thane (arrival 4:15 pm) [Slow]

3. Vashi (departure 1:44 pm) to CSMT (arrival 2:32 pm) [Slow]
4. CSMT (departure 2:45 pm) to Panvel (arrival 4:05 pm) [Slow]

The state-run Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) also ran 37 extra buses to ease the situation.

Additional MSRTC Buses:

1. Kurla to BKC: 5 buses
2. Kurla to Mahul: 4 buses
3. Dadar to Mantralaya: 5 buses
4. Panvel to Mantralaya: 5 buses
5. CSMT to Mantralaya: 6 buses
6. Thane to Mantralaya: 12 buses

A large number of auto/taxi drivers, along with their app-based counterparts, also came to the aid of Mumbai commuters.

However, like aggregators Ola/Uber which charge a premium during higher demand, several taxi and auto drivers levied a similar ‘surcharge’ today. Several netizens have reported about taxis overcharging in South Mumbai and autos in Andheri & Goregaon.

Some commuters, meanwhile, turned to private buses or ride sharing to reach their destinations.

Relief for students

Thousands of students, especially those set to appear for examinations, were left in a lurch due to today’s strike today. However, Mumbai University, which is holding over a dozen exams across streams today, has given some relief to students.

According to a circular issued by the varsity, students will be allowed to appear for the exams even if they arrive late. The circular has been shared with concerned college authorities.

BEST Strike Update: WR, CR & MSRTC running extra services, late students to be allowed for exams 2
A copy of the circular issued by Mumbai University

Bus driver injured

A bus driver sustained a minor injury during a late-night stone pelting incident last night.

According to officials, at least ten buses were damaged after unidentified persons pelted stones at them around midnight. The windows of several buses were shattered and one driver sustained an injury to his right-hand finger. No passenger was hurt.

A probe to nab the vandals is underway.

Reason for strike

BEST Sanyukta Kamgar Kruti Samiti (BSKKS), an umbrella body of labour unions, had called for a strike from January 8 after the administration failed to accept their demands.

The organisation has made several demands like the merger of BMC & BEST’s budgets, higher pay for employees recruited post-2007, discussion on the new wage agreements among others.

After several talks with the management failed, a poll was organised to ascertain employee sentiment. With 95 percent workers supporting the strike, the unions called for a strike.

The BEST management had threatened to invoke MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act), but unions remained adamant.

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