Pune: To compete with private operators, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) is plying maximum Shivshahi buses on the Nashik route, but due to less passengers, the state transport body is not plying too many buses for Beed, Parbhani, Latur and Dhule.
Private bus operators say that MSRTC is not a competition because the services they provide to the passengers are not as same as ST buses. Prasanna Patwardhan, President Bus Operators Confederation of India and Chairman and Managing Director of Prasanna Purple Pvt Ltd, said, "Majority of them are seater coaches and majority of private buses are sleeper coaches. Hence, there is no competition between ST buses and private coaches because there is a vast difference between comfort and prices of both. I don't think they'll be able to compete with private buses as there is a service factor when it comes to sleeper buses like blankets, bedsheets, etc and it is a challenge to maintain this."
According to the data provided by MSRTC's Pune division, air-conditioned Shivshahi buses are plying to Nashik every hour.
Due to huge demand by passengers and to compete with private buses, the division is plying maximum buses on this route, claim officials of Pune Division.
Dnyaneshwar Ranaware, Divisional Traffic Officer, said, "The Nashik route has huge demand every day and there are more private operators on this route. The fare is less, Rs 346 for Shivshahi and Rs 315 for semi-luxury buses of State Transport, while it is Rs 615 for private luxury buses. Similarly, Shivshahi buses are plying from Swargate to Solapur every hour from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm."
Around 23 buses ply from Pune to Nashik, most of the buses belong to Nashik Division and a few are from Kolhapur and Sangli. All these buses are plying from Shivajinagar ST stand and Swargate ST stand. The officials claim that the demand for Latur, Parbhani, Beed and Dhule is less and the buses are not frequently plying to these destinations.
"The buses for Latur ply twice in a day - at 11.30 am and 11.30 pm. These two buses are being operated by Latur division. Similarly, Shivshahi is plying from Pune to Beed at 1 pm, 2 pm and 10 pm from Shivajinagar stand. The passengers from this route prefer to travel ordinary ST buses," said a highly placed officer of MSRTC, Pune Division.