The recent theft that occurred outside the Kothrud bus depot, wherein 24-year-old Mohan Pol drove away with a PMPML bus parked on the road next to the depot, highlighted the lack of adequate parking space and security arrangements at the premises. The matter is of grave concern considering the fact that the public transport body plans to increase the number of its existing fleet of 1,700buses to 2,700 within a year.
Activist and convener of Pedestrian First Prashant Inamdar said, “As per norms, the PMPML must have a depot for every 100 buses. Presently, there is a shortfall of seven depots. This will escalate to 25 once the PMPML adds another 1,000 buses to its present fleet said the authorities.
He added that the existing depots were in poor condition and the reason the authorities cited was lack of funds. “The PMC should construct and hand over the depots -- equipped with commuter amenities -- to the PMPML as early as possible,” Inamdar said.
It was learnt that lack of parking space at the existing depots compelled the drivers to park the buses on the main roads. While there are 10 bus depots in the city, the PMPML needs another 15 to accommodate its existing fleet. The current bus depots are located at Swargate, Narveer Tanaji Wadi, Kothrud, Katraj, Hadapsar, Marketyard, Pune station, Nigdi, Sant Tukaram Nagar in Pimpri and Sadgurunagar in Bhosari.
While the PMC has decided to allocate a few plots of defunct octroi posts as temporary bus shelters, the PMPML would be required to find the remaining ones on its own.
Deepak Pardeshi, PRO of PMPML, said, “Once the Swargate flyover and grade separator construction starts, we will have to park our buses elsewhere. The alternate parking arrangements will be done soon. We’ll discuss it with the MSRDC officials -- the agency which has got the contract for the project -- regarding this and then take a decision.”