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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mumbai: The BEST Signal Breaker!


You have to drive around in this city of Mumbai, particularly after nine in the evening, to witness rampant breaking of traffic signals. And the unabashed leader in this would be the Brihan Mumbai (Greater Mumbai) Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking or Corporation—the state-run city bus monopoly service since 1947.

If you are a strictly law-abiding citizen driving your car you will wait patiently till the red signal turns into green, But you are likely to be stunned by BEST buses zooming past you in gay disregard of rules. Once that happens there will be instant followers and if you still insist on observing rules you will be rudely honked out the way making you break signals howsoever loath it is to you! Not only that, the bus drivers often tend to forget the actual size of their vehicle in trying to squeeze through giving you the shivers. To make matter worse for you, they also give you the left indicator light if they want to turn right! As is their habit, if they come out in herds and put your car in hopelessly desperate corners you can only call out to God for help! The real problem this leader in traffic rule breaking is creating is that they are beginning to command  a huge and growing following!

A sense of tremendous impatience is growing over the years making the vehicle drivers obsessed just to surge ahead of others and not caring a dime at the possible consequences. Given   the level of intolerable stress and frayed nerves due to increasing congestion and huge traffic snarls it is still logical to say that adherence to traffic rules would only ease it up. But no takers for that and that is why cases of accidents, heated arguments and road rages have been on the increase in Mumbai and elsewhere too.

The sense of impatience and unwarranted competition led to an accident yesterday in this city in which a double-decker BEST bus toppled almost turning turtle crushing a biker to death and injuring many others. This is the first accident ever involving a double-decker in the city. The reason was the obvious one—the bus trying to race through a signal. Now, what was the fault of the biker who was just moving along the road and the passengers for whom the driver did not show even a minimum consideration?

This mindset of ‘not caring a dime’ must be changed if we want a safe future on the roads. How much time actually we save by trying to surge past others putting our lives as well as that of others in grave danger? Well, for an half hour drive in the city our acts of desperation save us just two minutes.

Where are we going, damn it! What is our destination? Where are we going to spend the extra time saved in the process?
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