Crippled buses hurting PMPML & commuters

Sushant Ranjan
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

On an average, 350 to 400 buses remain off the roads due to various reasons daily, according to PMPML officials. Poor maintenance of buses results in breakdowns, which results in fewer completed trips.

Pune: On an average, 350 to 400 buses remain off the roads due to various reasons daily, according to PMPML officials. Poor maintenance of buses results in breakdowns, which results in fewer completed trips. Thus, on an average, the transport body realises about 4,500 fewer trips per day than planned.

According to the officials, the PMPML fleet consists of 2,098 buses and about 653 buses are operated by private contractors. As per the data, the major reason for the transport body to not realise the planned trips per day is the failure on part of the contractors to meet their given target.

Due to fitness issues, 4,000 trips of PMPML buses get cancelled every day. The transport utility plans to carry out 22,000 trips daily on average, but manages to realise only 18,000. Also of 1,680 roadworthy buses in its fleet, only 1,300 come on the road daily on average. The rest remain in depots due to disrepair.

“Of the 653 buses they (private contractors) are supposed to operate, they are managing to get only 350 buses on the road. This considerably reduces the number of buses plying on the road and actual trips realised,” said PMPML Chairman and MD Nayana Gunde.  

However, a source from the department said the major reason for the private contractors not being able to meet the targets was the financial distress they were suffering following imposition of hefty cash penalty by former CMD Tukaram Mundhe. “They are struggling for several months now. The PMPML administration also can’t help them, because the issue has to come for arbitration at the forum, following which a decision can be taken,” said the source.

According to Gunde, old buses which are in service for several decades are also bringing down the number of trips on the roads. “There are about 200 buses that are too old to be on the roads. We are going to scrap 105 of them on January 31. More will be scrapped. Also, about 80 to 100 buses remain in the depots and workshops for maintenance. Some have to go to Regional Transport Office for tests. All these things bring down the number of buses on the road,” she said.

The city needs about 2,000 buses to meet the passenger load. Passengers complain that  they have to travel in overcrowded buses. “A bus has about 40 seats and 15 to 20 passengers can travel by standing. However, most of the time over 70 to 80 passengers have to travel. This is not only extremely uncomfortable for passengers, overcrowding also leads to thefts, molestation of women,” said Asha Shinde, a PMPML user.

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