PMPML's new bus route plan remains in limbo

After getting a strict ultimatum from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) finally approved the ‘route rationalisation plan’ three months ago, which was submitted in 2010 by the Institute of Transport and Development Policy (ITDP).

Overlapping: Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited operates from 10 depots located within Pune Municipal Corporation and Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. File Pic

The plan, however, is yet to be implemented despite all the hype. PMPML currently operate 331 routes covering a network of 1,900 km in the Pune metropolitan region. Its buses operate from 10 depots located within the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).

According to a report, too many routes are overlapping, which is affecting frequency of services and creating confusion for commuters. The report suggested changes, including the need to minimize bus routes to improve efficiency.

“We have prepared the report after a thorough traffic survey and suggested the route network according to commuter volume. In the plan, we have tried to simplify the overall structure and utilize minimum buses on maximum routes. The report was submitted in 2010, but is yet to be implemented,” said, Pranjali Deshpande, transport planner, ITDP.

Jugla Rathi, president PMP Pravasi Manch, said that the current route management plan is over 15 years old and has not been upgraded or restructured.

“Management and planning is severely lacking. Only minor changes have been made on a few routes after commuters made repeated demands. Even the current schedule for buses is not being followed properly. Many trips on PMPML’s current plan are not being carried out every day.

From 1997, we have been demanding that all bus routes be restructured after considering the various changes in the city,” said Rathi. Meanwhile, Sunil Gavali, traffic manager, PMPML said that there is no major difference in the current route structure and the suggestions made in the report submitted by ITDP.

Gavali said, “The only major change in the route rationalisation report is that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system has been included. Apart from that, there are no major changes. We have approved the plan, but it can only be made operational after implementation of the first phase of the BRT.”

ITDP officials on the other hand claim that in order to implement the route rationalisation plan, PMPML needs to change the overall structure of the routes.  

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