Passengers complain that thick black fumes are belched by these old, ill-maintained buses that are still plying on the city streets, leaving them breathless and suffocated in their wake
If a cloud of thick poisonous smoke obstructs your view of the road ahead, chances are you are driving behind a public city bus ‘maintained’ by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML).
With the PMPML making a slow transition to CNG buses, there are still many old, ill-maintained diesel buses that are choking the city’s air and poisoning it with fumes. While the buses are poorly maintained, many of them have exceeded their recommended life span but are still being dragged along on the city streets.
“Many times, we see a bus fully loaded with passengers going at a very slow speed, belching out clouds of black smoke. These buses disturb other vehicles and pedestrians passing by, and pollute the atmosphere. The PMPML administration should not allow such buses to hit the roads, and they should be deployed on their routes only after proper checkup is done,” said Ruchi Pant, a frequent commuter on PMPML buses.
Another PMPML bus passenger, Sharad Rane, said, “In these hot summers, our breathing is affected by these buses, thanks to the smoke emitted from them. I can actually feel myself inhaling the smoke. This is sure to affect people’s health.”
At present, PMPML has around 2,022 buses in its fleet, of which 1,100 are CNG and 922 are diesel buses. Every six months, the buses are checked for pollution and the RTO issues them a fitness certificate once every year.
“In the pollution checkup, the diesel filter is changed, the engine is checked and remedied, air filters are checked. The remarks of the drivers are also taken into consideration, and work is done accordingly, so that a well-maintained bus hits the road,” said PMPML chief engineer Sunil Burse.
“There are various reasons for smoke coming out of the buses – fuel settings loosen, the clutch is pressed repeatedly, the bus is accelerated. Due to all these factors, unwanted gas is expelled from the bus. For this, we have specially arranged for an in-house pump-repairing centre at our central workshop at Swargate.
On an average, R5,000 is spent on every bus every six months to maintain the bus. Still, there are buses that continue to belch smoke. If passengers come across such buses, they should immediately contact PMPML and give us the details of the bus, so we can repair it,” added Burse.
The CNG consumed every day, at the rate of Rs 47 per kg, by 1,100 CNG PMPML buses
The diesel used per day by 922 buses
Rs 8 Lakh
The amount spent daily on diesel for these buses