As many as 26 organisations,that have embarked on Mission PMPML5@5,have something to cheer about as the citys transport body has decided to consider introducing bus tickets priced at Rs 5 for the first five km,but not immediately.
Commuter organisations said if the plan materialises,a large number of citizens who use two-wheelers and autorickshaws,and those who frequently use personal vehicles,will start travelling by PMPML buses. This will subsequently reduce congestion on roads,save fuel and prevent pollution.
Over 200 two-wheeler riders die on city roads every year,said Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad collectively have over 25 lakh two-wheelers.
The demand for Rs 5 ticket instead of Rs 10 for the first five km has been made. We are neither accepting it nor rejecting it. But we are not negative about it, PMPML managing director Pravin Ashtikar said,adding that the plan can be possible in the future but not now.
Ashtikar said PMPML will have to study the financial implications of lowering the fares. We will have to see whether this plan fits our bill. Since diesel prices are rising and our losses our mounting,a thorough study is needed to find out to whether the Rs 5 ticket plan will be financially viable for us. PMPML officials said the demand for introducing tickets in multiples of Rs 5 was made a few years ago and has finally materialised. Similarly,the demand for Rs 5 fare for the first five km has been made now and will become a reality after some time, officials said.
PMPML officials said if PMC and PCMC increase their financial assistance,this can happen. Currently,both PMC and PCMC are providing Rs 56 crore aid annually. If this is increased or doubled,it would be possible to introduce Rs 5 ticket.
NCP Pimpri-Chinchwad president Yogesh Behl said PCMC will consider the possibility of increasing the financial assistance to PMPML for commuters sake.
Commuter organisations trash PMPMLs arguments about losses,saying it is not a private body but a public one meant for the benefit of people. PMPMLs main objective is to cater to the travel needs of citizens of twin metro cities. The fare structure should promote bus travel and discourage use of private vehicles in the city. The fare for up to two km is Rs 5 and beyond that it is Rs 10 costlier than two-wheeler and autorickshaw travel, said Rathi.
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