Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More seats for women, sr citizens on BEST buses

Small mercies, after long struggle?!

More seats for women, sr citizens on BEST buses
Somit Sen, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 01.45am IST

MUMBAI: Here's some good news for women and senior citizens travelling
by BEST buses. The transport undertaking has increased reserved seats
for women from the existing six seats to 12 seats per bus; senior
citizens will now have not just two but four reserved seats. The new
quotas will come into effect from August 1. The reservation for
handicapped persons remains the same.

The reservation has been revised not just for the ordinary red buses,
but also for the double-deckers and the air-conditioned buses. In
double-deckers, women will now have 10 reserved seats-which means four
additional seats-and "senior citizens & handicapped" will have three
commonly reserved seats.

In the AC buses, women previously had only two reserved seats. This
has now been increased to six, while senior citizens will get two
seats which they will share with handicapped persons and two more
seats reserved exclusively for them.

The reservation in midi buses was two for women, two for handicapped
and one for senior citizen. It has now been increased to six for
women, two for handicapped and three for senior citizens.

"There was a huge demand to reserve more seats for women and senior
citizens. In fact, I was flooded with several letters and phone calls
from Mumbaikars,'' said BEST committee chairperson Sanjay Potnis.

Bowing to public demand, the BEST management decided to increase the
reserved seats quota. BEST general manage Om Prakash Gupta said, "We
respect all senior citizens and women who travel by our buses daily.
We want to ensure that their travel is less cumbersome and that they
dont have to go standing."

During the committee meeting on Tuesday, when the proposal for
additional reserved seats was being cleared, committee member Sunil
Ganacharya pointed out that he had been pursuing the case and raising
it at several meetings in the past. "It was actually a complaint from
a well-known Marathi composer which prompted me to raise the issue,''
he said. "The composer travels regularly by BEST buses to his
recording studio. He had to often travel standing in the bus and this
was frustrating,'' he stated. Ganacharya thanked Gupta for introducing
additional seats for not just senior citizens but also women.

Committee member Ravi Raja from the Congress welcomed the BEST
decision, stating that the general public can occupy the seats in the
absence of women and senior citizens. "But as soon as a woman or a
senior citizen boards the bus, the seat has to be vacated
immediately,'' he said, adding that conductors should strictly enforce
the new rule from August 1.

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