Pune: Citizens are demanding permission for persons with medical reasons to travel by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses in the city. Since the public transport service is shut due to lockdown, auto-rickshaws and cab operators are charging exorbitant amounts from citizens, which has prompted them to make this demand.
The PMPML bus service is closed for common citizens since March when the lockdown was imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus in the cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Presently, only 125 buses are operating on select routes for transporting persons engaged in essential and exempted services of government and private enterprises. Some citizens try to stop and board these buses but they are denied service by the conductor and driver. However, some genuine citizens – who can’t afford a private cab or auto-rickshaw services – wish to travel by bus for essential work.
Balkrushna Jadhav (58) said, “My blood pressure had increased suddenly and hence I needed to visit a hospital in Erandwane area. Auto-rickshaw driver and cab operators were demanding Rs 300 for this small trip. Besides this, I had to pay visiting charges at the hospital. A PMPML bus was heading towards the same direction in which I wanted to travel, but they did not allow me to enter the vehicle. If I can’t afford private transport and if public transport is not available what am I or many like me supposed to do?”
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also demanded that citizens in medical needs should be allowed to travel by the PMP buses. “If the administration has allowed the use of two-wheelers, then why can’t they allow citizens to use PMP bus,” AAP has questioned.
Anant Waghmare, Transport Manager of PMPML said, “We have received a lot of requests from the citizens to allow them to board the buses due to medical reasons. We are considering to allow the use of PMP buses on humanitarian grounds. A decision will be taken soon.”