The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has allotted Rs 116 crore to the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) so that the transport body can purchase 240 CNG buses for its fleet. In a proposal tabled before the civic body’s standing committee on Friday, the PMC administration sought permission to allot Rs 116.17 crore to PMPML.
The transport body, which often faces criticism over its ageing vehicles and breakdown of buses, has decided to add a total of 400 buses to its fleet, to improve services for lakhs of commuters in Pune.
The PMC has to bear 60 per cent share of the PMPML’s expenditure, while the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) takes care of the rest, as the transport service covers areas under both civic bodies.
“Power should be given to the municipal commissioner to release the funds to PMPML in phases and also make provisions for it in the civic budget for the next financial year,” said Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao.
In May, the PMPML’s board of directors had decided to purchase 400 CNG non-AC buses, to be mainly used on the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) route. The PMC, in its proposal, said while the civic body has made a budgetary provision of Rs 73 crore in the current financial year, it would need more money to pay for the purchase of 240 buses.
The PMPML had carried out the tender process thrice and finalised a proposal from TATA Motors to supply the buses at a cost of Rs 48.4 lakh per bus.
The decision by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), to purchase 400 CNG buses, comes after it faced much flak over the ageing vehicles in its fleet. While efforts have been made earlier to improve the transport body's service, they haven't had much impact due to shortage of buses. In fact, due to overcrowding of buses and breakdown of the vehicles, commuters have often been stranded midway. Now, Rs 116 crore has been allocated by the PMC for purchasing 240 buses and PMPML officials plan to introduce more buses along new routes. The frequency of buses will also be increased to make the transport service a commuter-friendly one.
A recently published draft of the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) for Pune metropolitan region had revealed that at least 1,500 more buses were needed in the region. “Currently, there is a need for 3,000 buses to meet the need of local residents, but there are only 1,500 buses, as per the bus supply index accessed from PMPML,” said Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority chief Kiran Gitte. He said the Pune region would need as many as 3,800 buses by 2028 to accommodate its increasing population, and it was necessary to take steps to strength the PMPML’s fleet.
The CMP had also pointed out the need to ensure that more areas were covered by PMPML buses, as well as better frequency of service. It states that only 19 per cent Pune residents used public transport, and this percentage has to be increased to 50 per cent by 2028.
Gitte said public transport services needed to be improved in rapidly growing areas such as Shikrapur, Charoli, Wadgoanshinde, Manjari Khurd, Kesnand, Chande, Nande, Kirkitwadi, Yewlewadi, Handewadi and Punawale.
The CMP has also proposed that the BRTS be introduced on more stretches, totalling 148 km, to encourage residents to use public transport instead of private vehicles. It also cautioned that the BRTS routes in the city were not closed one and faced several issues such as lack of exclusive right of way and lack of safe access to BRTS stations.