Passengers travelling to Mumbai from the city in the Shivneri air-conditioned buses can finally take a breather on the way as the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has started halting its buses for a break at food malls.
Buses will now stop at the Food Hub mall near Kamshet on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. It was reported on November 7 that buses were stopping at a small hotel near Lonavala and not at Food Hub ('Contract default spoils snack break of Mumbai-bound Shivneri passengers').
This lasted almost all of last month and continued into the early part of this month, reportedly because of disagreements between MSRTC and the mall owner.
Mall owners, according to a contract signed with the MSRTC, were supposed to pay a stipulated monthly amount for the passenger buses stopping there. This amount was disputed by the mall officials when the Traffic Department passed a circular asking all depots to change their halts.
Officials peg the amount to be between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh and say that certain issues still remain to be resolved. "We have resumed our stops at Food Hub. Buses heading towards Pune, however, still stop at the Bikaner Food Mall near the Khalapur Toll Naka," said an official, requesting anonymity.