AFTER the Regional Transport Office (RTO) failed to rein in private bus operators from overcharging passengers during the festive season, Pune Traffic Police is trying to put an end to the arbitrary and exploitative pricing of tickets by private luxury bus operators.
In a meeting with private bus operators and travel booking agents on Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Pankaj Deshmukh said Pune Traffic Police was launching a campaign to stop overcharging by private operators.
In April 2018, the state government had fixed the maximum fare that private buses were allowed to charge from passengers. Private bus operators could charge a maximum of 50 per cent more for each km compared to the state-owned Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses in the same category (non-AC seater, AC seater, non-Ac sleeper, AC-sleeper).
This was done in response to a public interest litigation filed by Pune-based social activist Asim Sarode in April 2012 in the Bombay High Court.
The court had directed the state government to fix the fare of private buses plying on the contract-carriage permit. The state had asked Pune-based Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) to come up with a formula to calculate the maximum fare for private buses.
The move was expected to bring relief for migrant workers and students who are from other parts of the state. The RTO, however, has failed to implement the norms and cited staff shortage as a reason.
DCP Deshmukh said, “Traffic Police will take action against bus operators or booking agents who violate the norm fixed by the state government. Also, traffic personnel in civil clothes will keep an eye on ticket bookings at important locations in the city and catch and penalise those who are found overcharging passengers.”
He also directed private bus owners to arrange all necessary facilities, such as drinking water, toilets and CCTV cameras, for passengers at the parking lots. “We have asked them to deploy security guards to ensure the safety of passengers and regulation of traffic in the parking lots. Another precaution they are supposed to take is to ensure that passengers are not fleeced by auto-rickshaw drivers after they reach the city,” said Deshmukh.