It’s a tediously common conundrum dealt with by the city’s commuters and traffic police -the frequent sight of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses breaking down on arterial or other roads, and staff of the transport authority subsequently taking an inexplicably long time to get the heavy vehicles out of the way. The resultant long lines of traffic congestion and choked roads have now become an issue that is faced several times a day.
Now, claiming to be tired of their frequent warnings falling on deaf ears, the city’s traffic police have finally decided to file police cases against drivers and conductors if they take unnecessarily long to shift broken down buses out of the way. In fact, from Wednesday onwards, traffic cops will be conducting a special drive to target such offenders. According to police officials, at least 40 cases of breakdowns are seen every day, taking the number to 4,000 every month. The buses, remaining at a standstill for several hours at crucial junctions, disrupt traffic at various locations. Cops have observed that most of their duty hours are now being taken up with clearing out such PMPML buses, rather than with traffic regulation. Hence, they have decided to initiate strict action against “lax“ PMPML staffers.
Sarang Awad, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said, “We are initiating a drive against PMPML buses. Frequent breakdowns are creating tremendous pressure on the city’s traffic.It takes three or four hours to shift broken-down buses, while the entire traffic of a road gets blocked. Now, concerned area traffic officials will file a police case against drivers and conductors if they fail to take immediate measures to shift a bus.“
However, Anant Waghmare, chief engineer of PMPML, had a different way of looking at the situation. He told Mirror, “We have developed a proper system to curb this issue. Our towing vans reach the spot within 15 minutes of a problem. Considering the magnitude and frequency of this issue, each depot has a van and team of mechanics.Our target is to repair a bus within 30 minutes. Breakdowns were frequent, but their number is decreasing every month.In the last four months, we reduced breakdowns by 1,500. Last month, this number was 4,172, down from 5,360 in September last year.“ Awad refuted, “We understand PMPML’s problem. Most of their buses are old. But, they are expected to move a broken down one as soon as possible.In recent cases, buses were not shifted for hours.“
A senior PMPML official explained on condition of anonymity, “Actually, this problem is because of hired buses.Proper mechanisms to lift broken down buses are also missing.Contractors only have two vans parked at Katraj, so it takes time to reach such a location. In recent times, PMPML itself has started initiating strict action and fines against lackadaisical staff in this regard.“
Meanwhile, commuters continue to suffer the problem. Prabhat Road resident Yogesh Samant said, “We frequently face traffic chaos due to PMPML. Last month, I was stuck in traffic for two hours at RTO Chowk because of a bus breaking down near the railway station. These buses are adding to the already heavy traffic burden. Many accidents also take place due to rash driving of PMPML buses.“
Sinhagad Road resident Nilesh Parandkar said, “Generally, two-wheeler riders face strict traffic police action.PMPML buses and civic body garbage containers violate rules like nobody’s business and get away with it. This is a good new initiative.“
Source : Mirror