PMPML fare hike draws angry reactions

Claim PMPML is eager to revise fares only to reduce its losses.

Written by Express News Service | Published: September 11, 2012 4:25:29 am

Commuters criticise inefficient management,poor facilities

WITH the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) all set to increase bus fares by Re 1 from next month,commuters and activists are questioning the inefficient management of the transport body and the poor facilities offered by it.

They claimed that though the PMPML was eager to revise the fares to reduce its losses,it was not concerned about reducing passengers’ hardships by making the travel convenient for them.

“With almost 33 per cent of the buses remaining off the roads,there is overcrowding in buses. Despite our consistent requests,they haven’t taken any step to ensure that buses are properly maintained and are kept in working condition,” said PMP Pravasi Manch convenor Jugal Rathi.

Data obtained from the PMPML offices shows that out of 1,846 buses,only 1,225 ply daily,while the rest are not in working condition. “If more buses,even if not all,are used by the transport body,it would help in reducing the rush in buses.

According to our estimates,as many as 15 per cent passengers travel without tickets as overcrowding prevents conductors from selling tickets to all.

This causes PMPML to lose Rs 15 lakh per day. By increasing the fare,the transport body is expecting to increase its earnings by Rs 10 lakh per day,” said Rathi.

Commuters said promises made during the last fare hike in 2010 are still unfulfilled. Officials had promised to increase the efficiency of the transport body and bring down the expenditure. There was also a talk to increase the revenue by increasing occupancy,revising renting out charges of PMPML properties and cost of advertising. But nothing of this has been achieved so far. They failed so miserably that now they don’t promise anything while hiking the fare,” added Rathi.

According to passengers,apart from inconvenience they face due to overcrowding,the poor condition of seats,windows,door in many buses is also a cause of concern. Despite repeated complaints,the PMPML has failed to provide sufficient numbers of shelters at bus stops,said a commuter.

“During the rainy season,the situation gets worse as the shelters are too narrow to accommodate more than half a dozen passengers whereas there are 20-40 passengers waiting at a bus stop at any given time. Most of the shelters are in a dilapidated condition without proper seating arrangements,” said Rajendra Chavan,a resident of Sahakar Nagar.

Some passengers also complained that many buses did not have helpline numbers,and even if they had,they are not properly printed,thus discouraging commuters from registering complaints.

Buses violate traffic rules,parking norms,say police

DESPITE repeated communications from the traffic control branch,PMPML buses continue violating traffic rules and park their buses on busy roads. Police say that though there has been better co-ordination between the PMPML authorities and them,the condition will not improve unless some basic recommendations are implemented.

The traffic control branch of the Pune police has repeatedly written to the PMPML authorities for continuous flouting of rules. Inspector Neelam Jadhav,Deccan traffic division,said,“We have been writing to the PMPML officials about the training of the drivers. It has been observed that many have been working on temporary basis. While plying,the buses occupy more than one lane. In a busy chowk,the buses occupy the entire front portion of the road and cause major hindrance to traffic.”

Jadhav said,many drivers take a right turn at a signal from the left side,bringing the traffic to a standstill. “FC Road and JM Road are major arterial roads and flouting traffic rules here causes major traffic snarls.”

Assistant inspector,Sanjay Javheri,Shivajinagar traffic division said,“In the afternoon,when the frequency of buses are low,the PMPML park buses in parallel lines. This becomes an obstacle for fire tenders,ambulances and VIP vehicles apart from the routine traffic.” Police said,the buses have proved to be a problem in areas like Hadapsar,Khadki and on narrow roads in peths areas (central part of the city).

Deputy commissioner of police (traffic control branch) Vishwas Pandhare said,“The co-ordination between us and the PMPML authorities have improved. We have regular meetings now. We have also conducted workshops of PMPML driver on traffic rules and etiquette. Some suggestions like change in location of PMPML bus stands still need to be implemented.”

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