The Pune Darshan bus service, which was started to promote tourism in the city, is struggling to stay afloat due to poor passenger count and financial losses.
From January to December 2019, only 11,406 tourists used the service, data obtained from the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) show. On an average, only 30 passengers use the service every day (15 passengers per bus).
The service, which offers two low-floor air-conditioned luxury buses for tours every day, is most in demand during the April-June summer vacation period and then during the Christmas holidays in December. During the rest of the year, however, the passenger count is largely dismal.
According to data, only 747 tourists used the service in January 2019, 662 in February and 828 in March. The count showed slight improvement in April with 1,093 tourists using the facility, 1,699 tourists in May and 1,339 in June 2019.
Passenger count again declined between July and November with monthly bookings ranging between 650 and 850. In December 2019, the number climbed to 1,259 passengers.
The service was started by the PMPML in 2015 in association with the Pune Municipal Corpor-ation (PMC). Later, it was outsourced to a private operator who pulled out after finding it financially unviable. The service is back to being operated by the PMPML.
“The average monthly revenue during lean months is Rs 3-3.5 lakh, while during the holiday season it is Rs 7-8 lakh. Considering the expenses — on fuel, maintenance and staff — the service is making losses,” said an official who did not wish to be identified.
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