Pune: A Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) driver misbehaved with passengers, including senior citizens, on the PMC-NDA gate-PMC route when he was questioned about the bus delay on Sunday. The driver even threatened to thrash a passenger if he asked questions.
The passenger, who did not want to be named, has lodged a complaint against the driver on the PMPML's grievances helpline number. The incident indicates that the PMPML, after Tukaram Mundhe's exit, is yet again slipping back to its old laid-back attitude.
According to the passenger, the bus R 016 (MH 14 CW 1492) was to halt at Kothrud stand on Paud Road for 10-15 minutes, as the working shift of the driver and conductor was over. The bus was plying from NDA Gate to Narveer Tanajiwadi.
“The bus started at around 2 pm from NDA gate. When the bus reached Kothrud stand at around 2.35 pm, some passengers changed the bus and boarded another bus leaving on the same route. After a considerable delay, an old lady asked the driver when the bus will continue. He rudely replied to the lady that when other passengers were going by the other bus, were you sleeping inside?” said the passenger.
“When I asked him why he was rude to the old lady, he said, "Do whatever you want to do. Go and complain, don't ask me." I went inside the office there and reported the incident to the senior staff handling the stand. They assured me they will look into the matter. On my way out, I asked the driver why he was angry, to which he replied, 'Don't talk to me, I will beat you,'" the passenger said. The bus started for its onward journey after a 25-minute delay.
PMPML officials respond
"This is really sad that a passenger was threatened by the driver. I will personally look into this issue. Any staff member belonging to PMPML doesn't have the right to behave like this with anyone.”
- Shiddharth Shirole, Director of PMPML
“This is a serious incident. We will immediately contact the Kothrud Depot manager and inquire about this. Misbehaving with passengers cannot be tolerated. This bus belongs to a private contractor and we think it is Mahalaxmi Transports. The driver will be identified and the matter will be thoroughly investigated, starting Monday.”
- PMPML PRO Subhash Gaikwad
“Unfortunately, passengers are unaware of their rights. Unless a strong public force is not created, accountable performance measures are not put in force and are not monitored, we will hardly see any change. As a system, it's concerned controllers' job to ensure the bus goes on time. If there is an issue that cannot be solved, it has to be brought to upper management's notice. But is that happening?"
- Sanjay Shitole, Secretary of PMP Manch