PMPML bus passengers will soon have to give an extra rupee over the existing fare from next month. The PMPML board of directors approved a proposal to hike the fares. The minimum fare (for travel up to two kilometers) will continue to be Rs 5. Fares Rs 6 and more will be hiked by a rupee.
People need a good public bus transport service. Providing public transport is one of the mandatory tasks of the municipal corporation. The PMPML has provided bus services on several routes suggested by cooperators and political leaders. PMPML earn huge losses on these routes but have still kept our services running there. One of the directors, Prashant Jagtap said “The transport undertaking’s financial situation was so bad that it had become almost impossible to run buses any more. PMPML is facing an annual deficit of over Rs 23 crore. There is also speculation that diesel prices are likely to increase substantially.”
Commuter groups have, however, strongly opposed the hike. They claimed that though the PMPML was eager to revise the fares to reduce its losses, it was not concerned about reducing passengers’ hardships by making the travel convenient for them. Apart from inconvenience they face due to overcrowding, the poor condition of seats, windows, door in many buses is also a cause of concern. Despite repeated complaints, PMPML haven’t taken any step to ensure that buses are properly maintained and are kept in working condition. During the rainy season, the situation gets worse as the shelters are too narrow to accommodate passengers. Commuters said promises made during the last fare hike in 2010 are still unfulfilled. Some passengers also complained that many buses did not have helpline numbers, and even if they had, they are not properly printed, thus discouraging commuters from registering complaints.
Data obtained from the PMPML offices shows that out of 1,846 buses, only 1,225 works daily, while the rest are not in working condition. 15% passengers travel without tickets as overcrowding prevents conductors from selling tickets to all. This causes PMPML to lose Rs 15 lakh per day.