Updated: January 23, 2022 8:35:08 pm
Written by Nishit Navin
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has decided to not allow commuters who aren’t fully vaccinated as the district fights a surge in Covid-19 cases.
“Over 30,000 passengers in the entire Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad region are being told to deboard for not carrying a proof of them being fully vaccinated,” Dattatray Zende, PMPML’s traffic manager, told The Indian Express on Saturday.
Zende added that they are also checking the vaccine status of all commuters, and only the fully vaccinated ones are being allowed to travel. Earlier, conductors at PMPML had expressed concern regarding checking the certificate of every passenger before letting them board the buses.
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Deepak G, a PMPML bus conductor, had said, “It will be difficult to check everyone due to the high number of passengers at every stop.”
However, this problem has been dealt with as the conductors now are checking the status before issuing the tickets, officials said.
“While giving them a ticket, conductors ask the passengers to show their vaccination certificates. If they fail to provide it, they are asked to get down,” Zende said.
He added that there had not been any major incident of a dispute between the conductors and the passengers who were asked to deboard. “We undertake around 17,000 to 18,000 trips a day. Although 30,000 passengers might sound like a huge number, but it only means one or two travellers are being asked to get down per trip,” he said.
However, this has surely hit PMPML’s earnings, which was already reeling under losses related to the pandemic. Zende said that due to the rising cases in the city, the number of passengers travelling daily by PMPML buses has reduced by over two lakh. “The reduction in ridership has reduced PMPML’s revenue by around 25 to 30 lakh each day. The deboarding measure is costing an additional 2 to 3 lakh daily,” he added.
Jugan Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch, a Pune-based organisation that looks after commuters’ rights, has opposed the measure. “PMPML should adopt a sympathetic approach for ensuring the safety of the commuters. Many of the travellers are poor and illiterate and might not be aware of all the measures. So, instead of deboarding everyone, people who show visible symptoms should be asked to get down,” Rathi said. He added that for the safety of commuters, PMPML could take measures like increasing the number of buses or thermal screening of travellers.
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