Pune: Poor infrastructure and inadequate public transport in the city has forced citizens to use their own vehicles, leading to a steep rise in the number of private vehicles. The year 2017-18 saw a whopping rise of 3 lakh vehicles on city roads, said latest data released by the Pune Regional Transport office (RTO).
Yet, the alarming rise in the number of private vehicles has failed to wake up authorities and the civic administration. Officials from the RTO said, "Every day, nearly three to four thousand people visit the RTO and many of them come for vehicle registration."
The rise in private vehicles according to RTO was 9.57 per cent compared to last year, when it was 8.24 per cent. This not only gives rise to pollution, but also increases expenditure on fuel, time and energy. Traffic jams, chaos on the roads, noise pollution have become a regular feature.
Activists call it lack of political will. Vivek Velankar of Sajag Nagrik Manch said, “The city is turning into a metropolitan city, but still we are dealing with poor public transport in comparison to Mumbai. The problem with the authorities is there is no permanent post for Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited head in the last 12 years, which saw 15 heads. This hampers the public transport system, as there is no data available on population ratio and public transport. Although, the authorities keep making tall claims of changing the situation, in reality, there has been no change. In fact, it is deteriorating every day."
Rupesh Kesekar of PMP Pravasi Manch said the reason behind the increase in number of private vehicles is lack of connectivity and poor frequency of buses in outskirts of the city. He said, “There are 300 buses which have to be phased out, but there is no action by authorities to replace them."
Sanjay Shitole of PMP Pravasi Manch said there is no long-term planning or policy regarding population and industrial growth. He said, “Due to the poor public transport, Puneites are forced to use their own vehicle. I believe it is a stigma on the city and its citizens. Although the population of the city has grown manifold due to industrialization and migration, the transport system has not improved a bit.”
Shitole said rickshaws should be connected to PMPML so that a person traveling from home to a bus stop or railway station or vice-versa can use the option.
Baba Shinde, President of Maharashtra Vahan Malak Chalak Pratinidhi Sangh (Maharashtra Vehicles Owners and Drivers Association), said, “These days children below 18 years of age also demand a two-wheeler and parents give in to their demands. This is a dangerous trend."