The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is planning to launch a new ‘feeder service’ on Saturday to provide quick and reliable service on shorter routes in core city areas in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The plan, christened ATAL (Aligning Transit on All Lines), aims to provide quick transit on 62 routes (nine in central areas and 52 feeding passengers to terminal depots), which will have an average length of 5 km at the cost of Rs 5. Buses will run on these routes every 5 minutes, said Rajendra Jagtap, chairman and managing director, PMPML.
The scheme will be officially inaugurated on October 24 by Kothrud MLA and BJP state chief Chandrakant Patil, said Mayor Murlidhar Mohol.
Most of the buses in this plan will be midi-buses acquired by the PMPML to operate in congested old city areas. To operate the service, the PMPML has identified 37 new routes after feedback from passengers, its drivers and conductors and ticket sales data.
“Under ATAL, we will ply 97 midi-buses in the core city areas so that travel time is kept to a minimum. These buses will be feeding passengers to buses on longer routes. This will help passengers travelling on short routes as well as longer routes because at present, the latter have to wait for 20 minutes to half an hour for another bus if they fail to board one. With ATAL, they can board a feeder bus that will take them to the nearest depot, where the frequency of long distance buses is much higher,” said Jagtap.
Mohol said the new service will bring in additional revenue for the PMPML.
Although the bus stops do not have LED screens informing passengers about the waiting time until the next bus – as is the case with BRT service – Jagtap said the staffers deployed at the beginning and end of the routes will ensure that buses do not get delayed or bunched together.
“We have put in place the hardware on the buses to monitor their movement and ensure that they run on schedule. We have sought funds to install screens at the bus stops from Smart City Project in PMC…” said Jagtap.
During the prolonged lockdown, the PMPML’s per day passenger count had dropped drastically from 10 lakh per day to only a few persons providing essential services. The PMPML had to send its staffers on Covid-19 survey duty and other work with civic bodies to keep them engaged. According to Jagtap, in the past month since operations resumed, the passenger count has gone up to two lakh per day and revenue has risen to Rs 20 lakh per day.
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