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Sunday, March 10, 2013

BEST buses may speed up to 90kmph; experts shocked

Mumbai: BEST has increased the speed limit of its buses from 50kmph to 65 kmph and plans to increase it further to 90 kmph. But experts questioned the wisdom behind BEST's step in a city where the average speed of vehicles is less than 20 kmph. 

    "It is ridiculous. How can BEST plan to increase the speed limit? A speed of 80-90 kmph is uncalled for," said transport expert and activist Krishnaraj Rao. BEST officials said an amendment to the central motor vehicle rules was on the cards, and speed limits could increase to 80-90 kmph. A senior official confirmed to TOI that the amendment would come into effect very soon. 
    Rao said BEST buses often met with accidents due to reckless and negligent driving, especially at road turnings. "The transport undertaking should curb accidents and sensitize drivers on safe driving before increasing speed limits of buses," he pointed out. 
    ABEST traffic department official said the limit was set at 50 kmph in 2012 after a hue and cry over accidents. "We had indigenously manufactured speed limiters (governors) and installed them in most buses. But drivers complained of 50 kmph being too slow on highways and empty roads early in the morning and late at night. So we decided to increase it to 65 kmph and warned drivers to drive slowly during peak hours," he stated. 
    Transport activist Sunil Mone said, "During peak hours, when BEST buses are 
required the most, the speed cannot exceed 20 kmph. There is no need to increase the limit. If you allow higher limits, drivers will be tempted to overspeed. You cannot issue a warning and expect them to obey it." 
    He stated that most roads in the island city and suburbs were congested and only a 20-
25-foot patch was available for traffic. "How can you expect buses to ply at 65 kmph when there have been accidents involving buses travelling at 50-60 kmph," he stated. A BEST double-decker bus had overturned near the Kalanagar traffic signal last year when it tried to increase its speed to over 40 kmph while turning. 
    BEST committee member Ravi Raja agreed there was a rise in bus accidents, and overspeeding, rash and negligent driving were the primary reasons. "We should allow buses to ply at an average speed. Sometimes, drivers hurry to meet deadlines. This is dangerous and a low speed limit is acceptable," he stated. 

TIME TO STEP ON THE GAS IN TIMES OF MISHAP? 

MARCH 2 | 25-year-old motorcyclist comes under front wheel of BEST bus in Andheri (E). He dies on way to Cooper hospital. Driver is arrested 
JANUARY 22 | BEST driver arrested for injuring two girls and their cousin near Worli naka. Released on bail of Rs 5,000. Transport body conducting probe. Nine passengers and conductor also sustain injuries after doubledecker bus hits private bus in Andheri 
MAY 21, 2012 | BEST driver loses control of vehicle and rams it into wall of Ramtek, bungalow of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal. Three passengers injured
APRIL 22 | Bus No 83 hit by bus No 84 Ltd in Worli. Four passengers and bus driver injured 
APRIL 19 | Two BEST buses collide with each other near Bandra Reclamation 
APRIL 6 | Double-decker overturns near Kalanagar, killing biker and injuring more than 18 (photo above, left)


BEST buses may speed up to 90kmph; experts shocked

Somit Sen TNN 


Mumbai: BEST has increased the speed limit of its buses from 50kmph to 65 kmph and plans to increase it further to 90 kmph. But experts questioned the wisdom behind BEST's step in a city where the average speed of vehicles is less than 20 kmph. 
    "It is ridiculous. How can BEST plan to increase the speed limit? A speed of 80-90 kmph is uncalled for," said transport expert and activist Krishnaraj Rao. BEST officials said an amendment to the central motor vehicle rules was on the cards, and speed limits could increase to 80-90 kmph. A senior official confirmed to TOI that the amendment would come into effect very soon. 
    Rao said BEST buses often met with accidents due to reckless and negligent driving, especially at road turnings. "The transport undertaking should curb accidents and sensitize drivers on safe driving before increasing speed limits of buses," he pointed out. 
    ABEST traffic department official said the limit was set at 50 kmph in 2012 after a hue and cry over accidents. "We had indigenously manufactured speed limiters (governors) and installed them in most buses. But drivers complained of 50 kmph being too slow on highways and empty roads early in the morning and late at night. So we decided to increase it to 65 kmph and warned drivers to drive slowly during peak hours," he stated. 
    Transport activist Sunil Mone said, "During peak hours, when BEST buses are 
required the most, the speed cannot exceed 20 kmph. There is no need to increase the limit. If you allow higher limits, drivers will be tempted to overspeed. You cannot issue a warning and expect them to obey it." 
    He stated that most roads in the island city and suburbs were congested and only a 20-
25-foot patch was available for traffic. "How can you expect buses to ply at 65 kmph when there have been accidents involving buses travelling at 50-60 kmph," he stated. A BEST double-decker bus had overturned near the Kalanagar traffic signal last year when it tried to increase its speed to over 40 kmph while turning. 
    BEST committee member Ravi Raja agreed there was a rise in bus accidents, and overspeeding, rash and negligent driving were the primary reasons. "We should allow buses to ply at an average speed. Sometimes, drivers hurry to meet deadlines. This is dangerous and a low speed limit is acceptable," he stated. 

TIME TO STEP ON THE GAS IN TIMES OF MISHAP? 

MARCH 2 | 25-year-old motorcyclist comes under front wheel of BEST bus in Andheri (E). He dies on way to Cooper hospital. Driver is arrested 
JANUARY 22 | BEST driver arrested for injuring two girls and their cousin near Worli naka. Released on bail of Rs 5,000. Transport body conducting probe. Nine passengers and conductor also sustain injuries after doubledecker bus hits private bus in Andheri 
MAY 21, 2012 | BEST driver loses control of vehicle and rams it into wall of Ramtek, bungalow of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal. Three passengers injured
APRIL 22 | Bus No 83 hit by bus No 84 Ltd in Worli. Four passengers and bus driver injured 
APRIL 19 | Two BEST buses collide with each other near Bandra Reclamation 
APRIL 6 | Double-decker overturns near Kalanagar, killing biker and injuring more than 18 (photo above, left)


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