An RTI activist says he has made the shocking discovery that 30.87 per cent of the bus fleet of the Pune Mhahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) remains unused every day.
Activist Jugal Rathi says he unearthed this information by filing an RTI query. “I found 524 PMPML buses are not in use against the total of 1,697 vehicles in the fleet. This gap is ultimately hampering commuters and some 4.73 lakh bus passengers have to suffer on a daily basis,” Rathi said.
The activist filed the RTI application after noticing several buses parked at various PMPML depots in the city. “I had sought the monthly statement of PMPML for February 2012 by filing an RTI application,” Rathi, who also runs a forum called PMPML Pravasi Manch, said.
Rathi added that each bus provides service to an average 900 passengers and, according to his calculations, 4.71 lakh passengers are deprived of PMPML services as a result of the buses lying unused.
He said PMPML was losing an average of Rs 8,500 from each unused PMPML bus, translating into an overall loss of just under Rs 45 lakh per day.
Rathi said of the 10 buses plying between Hadapsar and Katraj on the BRT route, four Volvo buses are not in working condition.
Sandeep Kulkarni, a resident of DSK Vishwa at Dhayri, said, “I don’t know why at least six buses out of a total of 35 in the prescribed schedule do not come to our society. PMPML officials give lame excuses for the unavailability of buses.”
Prerana Gaikwad from Yerawada said: “The night schedule buses at Yerawada are uncertain and we have to suffer on a daily basis.”
Mayor promises action
Mayor Vaishali Bankar, who travelled in a PMPML Volvo bus on the Hadapsar-Swargate BRT route on Tuesday, agreed there were complaints that several buses were lying idle at various depots. “When the present 1,600-plus buses are inadequate, all should be used without fail unless there are major technical flaws. I have also given instructions for recruitment of drivers and conductors as required in 30 days to ensure no bus remains idle at any depot.”
The other side
PMPML MD and CEO R N Joshi rubbished the claims. “This is totally wrong information. There are hardly 150 to 200 buses lying idle due to various reasons. Our efforts are on to put maximum number of buses back on the road by deputing more drivers and conductors,” he said.