February 11, 2020 3:36:22 am
Monday was unlike any other day for commuters taking public buses in Pune — the vehicles were punctual, more frequent and there were almost zero instances of breakdown.
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), which observed Monday as ‘Bus Day’, operated a total of 1,807 buses against the 1,500-1,550 buses pressed into service on an average day. It ferried at least 12 lakh passengers on the day and collected a revenue of Rs 2 crore — Rs 1.5 crore from sale of tickets and Rs 50 lakh from sale of passes.
The transport body, which aims to put 1,700 buses on city roads daily, has always found itself short by nearly 150 buses, leaving commuters in a lurch. As per officials, the average daily earning for PMPML is about Rs 1.55 crore, which further dips to Rs 1.35-1.40 crore during the weekends.
“We increased the frequency of the buses by five to 10 minutes on busy routes on Monday. The buses were also kept healthy – maintenance work was carried out in advance — for the Bus Day event to ensure that the vehicles did not breakdown at any point,” Anant Waghmare, traffic manager of PMPML, said. He added the administration had also directed staffers to ensure that all buses operate on time.
While commuters were mostly caught unawares about the special drive sans publicity, many agreed that buses were more frequent, less crowded and passes are sold with ease. “I commute from Katraj to Seven Loves Chowk everyday. I didn’t know that today was being observed as ‘Bus Day’. However, the buses arrived on time today and if this happens everyday, we will be happier,” Vaishnavi Govekar, a student, said.
Unaware that Tejaswini Buses were offering female passengers free rides on the eighth day of every month, Govekar said such initiatives should be given more publicity.
Asha Shinde, an activist of the PMP Pravasi Manch, said she spoke to several commuters Monday, most of who said overcrowded buses lead to thefts. “Women passengers said often the buses carry more passengers than their capacity, which often increase chances of thefts on board,” Shinde said.
Meanwhile, happy with the success of the ‘Bus Day’ programme, PMPML has announced that it will mark one day every month for the same.
“Next month, bus day will be marked on March 9. Today there wasn’t enough awareness among the passengers. But over the next few months as awareness grows, the PMPML will be able to attract more passengers,” Waghmare said.
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