Passengers of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) Bus number 153 experienced quite a scare on Sunday, with the bus plying on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway almost breaking down.
The driver of the bus steered the vehicle for over 100 km on the highway, unable to figure out the cause of the ‘popping sounds’ it was making. One of the passengers, K Dhanavate, said the bus jerked whenever the driver tried to accelerate. “Passengers in the bus were worried that it might lead to an accident,” he said as he firmly clutched on to the iron bar of the bus seat.
Bus number 153 started its journey on Sunday morning around 5.30 am. The driver on the first shift steered the vehicle till afternoon for four trips from Chinchwad to PMC headquarters. But when he handed over the vehicle to the driver on the second shift, he wrote a complaint that the “bus was creating problems”.
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The driver, Tukaram Daundkar, said the moment he stepped on the accelerator, the popping sounds grew rapidly. The bus was also tilting towards the left and not running smoothly. Daundkar said he had alerted his superior about the problem.
Conductor Vjay Pachpute said the morning shift driver had noted down the complaint in the bus sheet. “It seems the problem was not attended to. I am a permanent employee. The driver is on contract and the bus belongs to a contractor. It is the duty of the contractor to keep the bus in order,” he said.
Pachpute added he has been on trips since afternoon but could not explain to passengers what was happening. “Passengers asked me, but I couldn’t explain to them what was wrong with the bus,” he said. When contacted, PMPML chairman and managing director Abhishek Krishna said he will look into the problem immediately. By late evening, the bus had already travelled at least 150 km.