The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation’s (MSRTC) Swargate Depot is facing 10 per cent shortage of bus drivers. The pinch can be felt as it is the summer holiday season and there is a need for full service. The depot management is allowing available drivers to do overtime work with a tempting offer of providing double rates of salary per hour.
Vijay Divte, manager, Swargate Depot, said, “We have a strength of 254 bus drivers for 375 plus trips a day. The number of bus drivers is inadequate. We have also made a demand for 22 more drivers who can run the buses. This is about 10 per cent of the current strength and we need them for normal flow of services.”
According to Divte, “Along with the routine bus trips, we have also started extra operations in the Konkan region for the tourists who visit Kelshi, Anjerli, Dapoli, Ganpati Phule etc. In addition, we have also increased the number of trips to Kolhapur and Mumbai. Our depot has also been given a target of running 53,000 kilometres a day and we are doing what we can with the lack of 22 drivers. All the 12 depots in Pune district are facing the scarcity of 10 to 15 per cent shortage of bus drivers.”
A highly placed source at Shivajinagar ST Depot said, “There is a dearth of 40 drivers as against the present strength is 245 drivers. The Pimpri-Chinchwad ST Stand is also facing a shortage of 17 drivers with 284 drivers on duty. To meet the growing need of extra trips we even stopped leaves for drivers and conductors in the summer,” said the source.
Raghunath Tupe, a bus driver who drives to Ganpati Phule said, “I started the season with a positive mindset though it is very hectic to drive in the scorching summer. My earnings by working overtime have helped me fulfil important family needs. I really miss my family and kids, as my children are enjoying school holidays. There is no use in leaves when the summer vacation is over. But I have accepted it as ‘fact of life’.”
254 Total number of drivers at Swargate bus depot
68 Number of drivers suffering from hypertension and diabetes