The Maharashtra State Road Transport (MSRTC) had introduced ‘cat card’ system to offer special discounts for frequent commuters, but due to poor publicity and lack of efforts, the scheme is not getting much response.
MSRTC has advertised or conducted a publicity campaign to aware commuters of the scheme. Even MSRTC’s official website carries no information about the ‘cat card’.
MSRTC introduced the scheme a few years ago offering a yearly subscription for Rs 200. Those wishing to avail the card, can do so by submitting identity proof and two photographs. A cardholder can avail a 10 per cent discount for every journey, and also benefit from an insurance cover up to Rs 1 lakh. Commuters can renew the card after a year at any bus depot in the state.
However, Volvo services are excluded from this scheme, which is a major drawback. Many regular Pune-Mumbai commuters route are demanding that Shivaneri should be included in the scheme.
“A ticket on a Pune-Dadar Shivneri bus costs more than Rs 350. I travel two or three times a week, so a 10 per cent discount for every journey matters quite a lot,” said commuter Anukul Kulkarni.
A frequent traveller on the Pune-Kolhapur route, Madhukar Kocharikar said, “For the last 15 years I have been travelling between Pune and Kolhapur. I have not heard or read about this ‘cat card’ system. They should at least put up hoardings or make announcements at bus stands.”
A senior official of the MSRTC said that the lack of publicity could indicate that the scheme is being done at a small scale. “It seems like the MSRTC authority is not concerned about this scheme. Actually they don’t want to implement it on large scale. Commuters should submit a written application to have Volvo service included under this scheme,” said the senior official on condition of anonymity.
Ravindra Kadam, general manager, MSRTC, said, “We are planning to re-launch the scheme. At the initial stage, we did manage some publicity, but received no response. We have not yet received any demand to add Volvo service to this scheme. But we will certainly think about it. We plan to add other facilities and these plans are in process.”