On Sunday morning, a BEST bus mowed down 17-year-old cyclist, Shubham Shinde, near Portuguese church at Dadar. The teenager died before being admitted to hospital.
Shinde has now become a statistic in the BEST undertaking's accident victims.
Have Mumbai’s public transport buses become the new killers on road?
At least 80 people have died in more than 900 accidents involving BEST buses in the past two years in the city, revealed Mumbai traffic police statistics. And, at least 10 such fatal accidents have been recorded by the BEST undertaking since January.
Poor maintenance, rattling buses and rash driving are making the once-popular London-styled red buses dangerous on the roads.
“The major causes of accidents involving BEST buses are due to speeding and rash driving. The overturning of a double-decker bus at Bandra last month was a glaring example of this. The number of bus drivers who jump signals is also high,” claimed a senior traffic police official.
But officials from the BEST undertaking disputed the fact that their drivers are always at fault.
"There was an issue with a few new recruits, but we are counselling and training them. Even the old drivers are made to go through a refresher course,'' said an official, requesting anonymity.
BEST data state that there has been a comparative drop in accidents over a period of years, but the number seems be rising in 2012 as there is an small or big accident involving buses at least once a week such as the overturning of the double-decker bus at Bandra and the collision of two buses both in April.
DNA had recently highlighted how the quality of BEST buses had been going down and a number of safety features like headlights, rear mirrors and safety guards were missing. Commuters also complain of air-conditioners in BEST buses not functioning.
K Parmeshwaran, BEST Passengers' Association member, said there are serious quality issues with BEST buses and they also need to improve their punctuality. BEST chairman Ashok Patil and general manager OP Gupta did not respond to calls and text messages from DNA.