Sunday, 14 May 2017

Civic body promises 1,550 new buses, citizens ask ‘by when’

14/05/2017

PUNE: PMPML officials might appear upbeat over the possibility to get its fleet strengthened with 1,500 new buses, but transport experts and residents say such a "pledge without a deadline is only an eyewash".

The civic body has in its annual draft budget for 2017-18 allocated Rs 392 crore for the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) and the corpus is meant for procuring the new buses, among other expense heads.

Reacting to the Pune Municipal Corporation's (PMC) allocation, a senior PMPML official said 200 midi buses were expected to reach the city in the next two months. "However, the issue of procuring the much-hyped air-conditioned buses turned out to be a mystery and nothing can be said on this at present," he told pune-news.com.

"Work on the midi buses, which are slightly bigger than the standard mini buses, is in the final stages. The prototype inspections are over. But it is better not to say anything on the AC buses now. We are clueless about it," the official said.

Around two-three months ago, the PMPML officials were much enthusiastic about the AC buses. In February, they had said around 550 buses would by April. "The file is with the CMD. He will review it and take the final call," another official said.

Similar is the situation with the procurement of the all-women Tejaswini buses, a plan of the state government. "We had sought 100 buses. It is difficult to state any specific deadline for their arrival," the official said.

He also could not shed any light on the time needed to procure 800 standard CNG buses. "A tender is likely to be floated soon. But at this moment, we cannot discuss much on it as nothing has been finalised."

Jugal Rathi, president of the PMP Pravasi Manch, said the transport utility was moving towards the wrong direction. "All these plans were announced almost two years ago. They make announcements as the plans for Smart City are on. All they want to show is that there's some development in terms of local transport."


He added, "The PMPML has failed to understand is that only adding buses will not solve the problem. The AC buses had come way back when the trial run of the BRTS was on. But they soon developed snags and vanished from the roads."

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