THE PUNE Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is planning to stop the scheme of rewarding the passengers who send pictures of the drivers talking or texting on a mobile phone while at the wheel.
As per the new plan, the transport body will deduct the Rs 1,000 penalty from the erring driver’s salary but the money will go to the PMPML’s welfare fund and not the passenger who has reported the violation.
In 2010, the then PMPML Chairman and Managing Director, Subbarao Patil, had started the scheme to curb the practice of drivers talking on the cell phones while on duty. The scheme was implemented in 2014.
Meanwhile, two other similar schemes were introduced around the time, under which those sending pictures of a bus standing on the zebra crossing and the one leaking fuel would be rewarded too. These schemes, however, were withdrawn within a few months of their launch.
As per the numbers available with the PMPML, in 2014, only seven such complaints were reported. The number went up to 16 in 2015, and 37 in 2016. Until July 31 this year, 18 such complaints were lodged, the records revealed.
Tukaram Mundhe, chairman and managing director, PMPML, said, “The penalty will not be stopped but the money will go to the welfare fund instead of the complainant, as a (mobile) application has been introduced now for the purpose. Request everyone to use the app for reporting grievances…”
The new move, meanwhile, has invited criticism from commuter groups, who see this as another jolt to passengers’ involvement in the running of the transport body.
Jugal Rathi of the PMP Pravasi Manch said, “This is another in the series of dictatorial decisions taken by the current management of the PMPML. Instead of stopping the practice of rewarding the passenger who reports the violation by clicking a picture, they should have expanded the scheme to include other violation such as signal jumping by a PMPML driver. Also, if the schemes have to be changed, there has to consultation with all the stakeholders. Decisions can’t be taken arbitrarily.”