You donít look pregnant, board bus from rear door, BEST driver told woman

Two women passengers write to BEST committee member, complain of rude behaviour by staff of public utility.

BEST needs to hold proposed gender sensitisation workshops as early as possible. Here's why.

A six months pregnant woman trying to board a crowded bus from the front door was recently denied entry by the driver, who told her she "does not look pregnant".

Another woman seeking a similar entry with her two-year-old son was shown the rear door.

The alleged misbehaviour came to light after the women wrote to Suhas Samant, Shiv Sena leader and a member of the BEST committee, last month.

"The bus was crowded and the pregnant woman tried to board it from the front door, but the driver stopped her. When she drew his attention to her condition, he rudely told her she doesn't look pregnant and should board the bus from the rear door like other passengers," Samant, who heads a union of BEST employees, said at a committee meeting Wednesday.

BEST officials present at the meeting said as per norms, instructions to passengers should come from the conductor, while the driver should focus on the road.

"The general manager should issue clear instructions that drivers have no business to tell anything to passengers. All women passengers must be allowed to board buses from the front door," Samant said.

Other committee members said BEST should ask the company in charge of installing surveillance cameras on buses to speed up the process and that there should be surprise checks.

Ashok Patil, chairman of the BEST committee, said, "I have asked the chief traffic officer and other authorities concerned to look into the complaints and speak to the drivers at fault. They will start the probe process."

BEST recently dismissed a bus conductor for verbally abusing a woman commuter and allegedly making obscene gestures at her.

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