PUNE: The issue of frequent breakdowns and buses catching fire continues to mar Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited’s (PMPML) reputation while causing enormous inconvenience to passengers. Currently, around 1,300 buses are plying on the roads and average 70 buses break down every day. The transport body is spending Rs 25,000 per month per bus to maintain and make them fit to ply on the roads.
However, there is increase in number of buses breaking down cases which are run by contractors. On the other hand, the breakdown cases among PMPML-owned buses has shown the downward trend due to change in checking system. Taking cognisance of the frequent breakdowns, the public transport utility has decided to scrap buses bought 12 years ago.
“The PMPML buses are being maintained on a regular basis. The transport body is giving additional time to check each bus. The cost of maintenance of each bus is around Rs 25,000 per month and Rs 3 lakh per year. The maintenance cost of all buses has crossed the mark worth Rs 32 crore per year,” said a senior officer of the PMPML.
The PMPML is facing a huge loss in terms of maintaining the buses including the recently added e-buses and midibuses. Overall losses to the PMPML have reached Rs 14 lakh per day.In a recent report published by Parisar, an NGO, according to the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP), there should be 55 public transport buses for one lakh commuters. Whereas in reality, the number of buses for one lakh commuters is half of what is mentioned in the plan.
“Daily at least 11 to 12 lakh commuters from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad are dependent on PMPML bus service. Mainly students, people commuting to offices, small businessmen and senior citizens are dependent on the public transport system,” said Ranjit Gadgil, Programme Director at Parisar. “The last year (2018) was challenging for PMPML in terms of running the buses and maintaining them. So the productivity of PMPML has gone down and the number of buses running has decreased,” he said.
“The life span of PMPML buses is 9.6 years,” said a senior officer.