Pune: The newly launched Shivshahi bus service has gained popularity among passengers, according to the data provided by the city division of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC).
Officials claim that the low fare and comfortable journey with the air-conditioned bus is the main reason.
According to MSRTC officials, Pune division, passengers prefer to go with Shivshahi buses. “The ticket booking is more than 10 per cent higher than Shivneri. The bus fare is only Rs 30 to 60 higher than semi-luxury bus Hirkani. The luxury seats, air condition and a low fare are the reasons behind the popularity,” said a highly-placed official of MSRTC, Pune division.
The Pune division introduced Shivshahi buses in September. It faced stiff competition from private operators. The State Transport Department cancelled the Shivneri bus and introduced Shivshahi from Pune to Kolhapur. This too got a good response from passengers and they moved from private to public transport buses.
“Shivshahi buses are fast gaining popularity and MSRTC wants to make them even more popular so that they can compete with private buses in all ways. Recently, we started these buses from Pune to Goa and from Pune to Mahabaleshwar. We are receiving good passenger traffic on these new routes and the same to Shirdi has been started,” said Srinivas Joshi, Divisional Controller, Pune division.
“On December 25, we introduced buses from Pimpri-Chinchwad depot to Nashik, Umarga, Tuljapur, Chiplun and Dapoli. The fare is Rs 30 to 60 more than our Hirkani bus. Hirkani charges Rs 322 from Pune to Nashik per passenger and Shivshahi's fare is Rs 346 for the same route, it is just Rs 24 higher. Similarly, passengers were paying Rs 386 for Chiplun from Pune and from Shivshahi, they are paying only Rs 424. So, with the low fare and comfortable journey makes it popular among passengers,” said Joshi.
The Shivshahi buses are air-conditioned and were started by the MSRTC earlier this year. Presently, more than 1,500 buses have been included in the MSRTC fleet and are plying to different destinations. The Shivshahi buses of the MSRTC are comfortable and luxurious.
"The private operators charge more and middle-class families cannot afford to pay more than the actual fare,” said Sachin Jagtap, a passenger.
About Shivshahi bus service
In Pune division, there are a total of 36 Shivshahi buses going to destinations like Mumbai, Goa and Mahabaleshwar.
The buses are fully air-conditioned and the number of seats rests at 45.
The MSRTC officials said they plan to replace the non-AC Hirkani buses with Shivshahi buses on all routes in phases.