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Suburban students have tough time commuting to school

PMPML gives students on the city’s outskirts the short shrift, says no buses available for them since the transport body’s ‘priority is the general public’

With a new academic year starting on Monday, while many of the city’s students made their way to school with parents, in school buses and autos, some were disappointed with the lack of public transport options. Since the city’s transport body, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) has decided not to provide additional buses to ferry school students in the suburbs, students were left out on a limb.

Hanging for dear life
Hanging for dear life: On an average, 2,000 buses of PMPML’s fleet of around 2,500 hit the road daily, and there are more than one lakh students in the city who depend on these services and travel on a monthly student’s pass. Pic/mohan Patil

The demand for civic bus services in the suburbs has been growing for the past two years. There are no buses available for students in areas like Dhanori, Ambegaon Khurd, Warje and Kasarwadi among others, during morning and evening hours.

“We live in Dhanori and my son goes to a school in Narayan Peth area. We cannot afford an auto rickshaw, and our only option is public transport. But the frequency of direct buses in the morning from here is nil. My son has to take two connecting buses to get to school,” said Kishore Dahinje, a parent.

Another student, Amit Patil of Warje, said, “My school is in the Swargate area and we do have buses to Swargate, but during the early morning hours, they are overloaded. Students don’t get the space to set their foot aboard these packed buses. We want a special bus from Warje to Swargate for students.”

On an average, 2,000 buses of PMPML’s fleet of around 2,500 hit the road daily, and there are more than one lakh students in the city who depend on these services and travel on a monthly student’s pass. In the evening, hundreds of students are seen waiting at bus stations on major roads like Shivaji Road, Tilak Road and Bajirao Road.

Talking about the issue, PMPML traffic manager Sunil Gavali said, “We have not started any new routes or buses for students in the city, though there is a lot of demand in many areas, especially in the suburbs. But we do not have that many buses to provide. Our first priority is the general public, and even for that we are facing a shortage of buses. In the case of students, the demand is only there during peak hours, and it is not possible for us meet it.”

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