Passengers say driver, conductor asked them to vacate bus at isolated spot near Khadki Bazaar, made no alternative arrangements
As if incidents of PMPML buses disappearing from depots in the recent past were not enough, here is another incident that throws light on the sorry state of affairs when it comes to managing the local bus service. Forty-six passengers travelling from Khadki to Pimple Nilakh in a PMPML bus were suddenly asked to vacate the bus at 10 pm near Khadki Bazaar on Saturday evening. The reason given to the passengers was that the bus had run out of fuel.
Fill Tank before use: A PMPML bus that runs on CNG at the Swargate
depot. File pic
Driver, conductor rude
Passengers said the bus driver and conductor were not too polite and did not even apologise for the inconvenience caused to the passengers. "I came to meet my niece who is in the hospital," said Pratibha Deshpande, a resident of Pimple Nilakh. "I can't understand how the bus ran out of fuel. Whose responsibility is it to check the fuel or gas level before driving the bus?" Other commuters relived their horrifying experience, saying they were left stranded late at night.
Social activist steps in
Balasaheb Baravkar, a social and political activist from Khadki, finally spotted the stranded passengers and stepped in to help. "The efficacy of the PMPML bus service is deteriorating every day," said Baravkar. "When we spotted the empty bus with the passengers stranded, we found that the bus had run out of fuel. This is unacceptable."
Baravkar made a formal complaint against the bus driver and conductor at the Swargate depot. He finally was able to ensure the PMPML administration made alternative arrangements for all the passengers. "It took me another hour to sort out the issue, but everything went fine," he said.
The Other Side
PMPML Chairman and MD R N Joshi agreed that the incident was very unfortunate for the passengers. "Before taking any action we are conducting a through inquiry into the incident. We will find out what happened so that this is not repeated again. There are several other departments involved in this incident and we need to understand the larger issue."