BEST employees call off strike after talks with government

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best-strikeThe strike by bus drivers and conductors in Mumbai, protesting against a new roster that called for longer working hours, has been called off after they arrived at a solution with the management over the implementation of the new computerised scheduling system.

“The matter has been resolved. The implementation of the new computerised scheduling system has been postponed till June 1. However, as pilot project the system will be implemented at the Malad depot to see what difficulties arise,” BEST counsel MPS Rao said.

Thousands of members of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport or BEST bus drivers and conductors had gone on strike yesterday against the new system, causing huge distress during rush hour yesterday, as stranded commuters tried to get to work, school and other places.

Many schools have examinations at this time and harassed parents had to depend on other, more expensive public transport to get children to school on time.

BEST moved the high court yesterday, which ordered the protesters to call off their strike and report to work by 5 pm. It also brought in more private buses and those from state roadways to ease the situation.

The BEST runs a fleet of 3,380 buses on 335 routes and ferries over 40 lakh passengers daily in Mumbai and its suburbs of Navi Mumbai, Thane and Mira Road.

These buses are also the main connecting service for Mumbai’s local trains, considered the city’s lifeline.

BEST workers fear that their duty hours will increase from eight to 12 hours in a new computerised schedule that came into effect on April 1.
It has around 22,000 drivers/conductors who ply buses on more than 500 routes daily.