While Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) would like to believe it’s going for innovation, activists and some enlightened citizens are a bit circumspect. Taking note of the pilferage of six bus stops in the city, the transport body has mooted a proposal to institute 1,000 stainless steel bus stops and 5,000 unipole signs. Critics, however, have rubbished this initiative as a mere attempt at revenue generation through outdoor advertisements, and have asserted that PMPML is callous about commuters’ woes.
“The heavy stainless steel bus stops are more stable and theft-proof. The incidents of stealing were from Nanded Phata, Shivajinagar and Range Hill corner. With the change, miscreants won’t be able to steal parts from a bus stop, as it will be a single unit made of steel, and difficult to crack even with using gas cutting machines. There is no demand for steel in the scrap market. For the first technical tender we have received eight bids from Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai and also from Pune. Earlier we used fibreglass, wood to build bus stops, which were also susceptible to catching fire,” said Dr Pravin Ashtikar, associate director, PMPML.
“Tender has been floated to invite bids. Installation of bus stops and unipoles will cost Rs 55 crore,” said RN Joshi, chairman and managing director, PMPML.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Ramakant Bhokare, head of advertisement department, PMPML, said, the stainless steel bus stops will be erected by December 2013 after finalising the bids. Each structure will have capacity to seat 18 people, and will also have an electronic display board with schedule of buses and space for advertisement. Similarly, unipoles will have a similar display system. “The construction costs will be borne by the winning bidder, but PMPML will have ownership. The advertisement rights will be with the private body for the first 15 years, but the ad revenue will be shared by PMC and PMPML,” he said.
Striking a dissenting note, Jugal Rathi, founder president, PMPML Pravasi Sangh, said, “I have strong doubts over the intention of erecting expensive stainless steel bus stops in the city. These will act as revenue generators for PMPML instead of providing relief to commuters. Condition of many existing bus stops in the city is pathetic. Many have no seats and broken roofs. Others don’t even have boards so people can identify them as bus stops. PMPML should construct new bus stops, but also allocate responsibility of cleaning and maintaining these stops to the contractors.”
Rs 55 cr: Minimum estimated cost for the PMPML project
. Total PMPML bus stops in Pune and suburban areas: 4,917
. Existing bus stops made of fibreglass, wood or steel: 2,500
. Bus stops only with a board and no shelter: 1,400