In a bid to trim the number of heavy vehicles plying on city roads, the civic body and the traffic department have decided to shift Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and private bus stands to octroi booths, which are lying vacant following the introduction of Local Body Tax (LBT).
According to the plan, all MSRTC buses — except for the buses that belong to Pune depot — will terminate at octroi booths located out of the city. Hence, the journey of passengers travelling in more than 1,400 buses will end just before entering the city, and they’ll have to hunt for other means to reach their destinations.
Soon buses coming at Swargate and Shivajinagar bus depots will terminate at Hadapsar, Yerawada, Balewadi, Katraj and Kothrud. The decentralisation will be done region- wise, and buses going towards Solapur, Hyderabad and Marathwada region will stop at Hadapsar, while those coming from Satara, Kolhapur, Karnataka will stop at Katraj. Also, buses from Thane, Mumbai and Konkan region will stop at Balewadi, while buses coming from Vidharbha region will terminate at Wagholi.
Reacting to the plan, Sangita Tillu, a frequent commuter, said, “We already have to face errant rickshaw drivers after getting down at Swargate, as they charge exorbitant fare. If the depot is shifted outside the city, we’ll have to pay them even more.” Tillu added that wouldn’t take PMPML buses, as it doesn’t encourage carrying heavy luggage isn’t allowed. “Bus stand should be in the heart of the city,” she said.
Likewise Rekha Deshpande, said, “Octroi booths are 8 to 12 km away from Swargate depot. Besides, we’ll have to pay around Rs 10 to Rs 180 extra to auto drivers if we get down Katraj or Balewadi.” The MSRTC too is not excited with the plan, and it fears that due to inaccessibility of buses commuters will opt out from travelling in their buses.
“Swargate and Shivaji Nagar bus depots are located in the heart of the city and are convenient for commuters. If more than 75 per cent buses will get terminated out of the city, commuters will obviously prefer private bus. While, the PMC is claiming that it will provide efficient public transport service, considering number of buses that PMPML currently has, commuters will have to relay heavily on autorickshaws,” a senior MSRTC official said.
He added if they decide to decentralise MSRTC, then they will need additional manpower. “We are already short of staff at the existing bus stands. For proper traffic control, we’ll need more people at the proposed bus stands,” he said.
Number of buses that arrive and leave Swargate depot daily
The other side
Speaking to MiD DAY, Additional Municipal Commissioner Rajendra Jagatap said, “We intend to develop transport hubs at these octroi booths. However, we’ll ensure that commuters don’t face many problems. We’ll provide efficient public transport, including adequate frequency of PMPML buses and will even arrange for auto rickshaws.”
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