It seems that motorists, who are well aware of the reckless and indiscipline manner in which Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal (PMPML) buses are driven, are not the only ones complaining about the drivers of the city’s bus authority. Pune traffic police, annoyed with PMPML drivers, are now claiming that PMPML buses are causing traffic snarls. Cops have written to the PMPML higher-ups, asking them to direct their drivers to follow traffic rules and drive sensibly. Traffic police have also warned of action against erring drivers.
In coordination with bus authorities, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and traffic police had demarcated bus bays at the city’s important bus stops, in order to provide maximum carriage width for moving traffic in such areas. The intention was to give bus drivers an idea where to halt their buses to pick up passengers. However, cops have increasingly observed that drivers do not recognise bays and continue to halt their buses outside the marked area.
Sarang Avad, DCP (traffic), told Mirrorthat this affects the overall vehicular movement. “Drivers halt their buses bang in the middle of the road as opposed to the bus bays. This is an easy way out for them as they do not have to take an extreme left on the road and then again turn the bus right to the main carriage width. This not only causes inconvenience to other vehicles, but also for passengers waiting at the bus stops, who have to board buses from the road, which is extremely dangerous.”
Senior citizen Prabhakar Holam, who regularly commutes via PMPML buses, agreed with Avad. “On most occasions, the buses are not halted in their specified areas. We have to literally make our way through speeding traffic to board the bus. I am certain that PMPML will not take responsibility for any passenger, who gets hit in this process,” he said.
PMPML drivers also commit other violations like overtaking from the left, breaching traffic signals, etc, added Avad. Although cops can immediate action against these errant drivers, it seems traffic police have been taking the matter softly on account of PMPML being a public transport body. “I have raised these issues at our joint meeting with the PMPML authorities. I have also written to them, asking erring drivers to be pulled up,” said Avad. However, on being asked why immediate action is not being taken, Avad said doing so would mean that passengers seated in the concerned bus will have to suffer. “Hence, we have to take a soft stand. However, if they continue violating rules, we will have to take action. ”
Meanwhile, Pravin Ashtikar, joint managing director of PMPML, insisted that drivers are made to undergo regular training courses at the depot level and that the transport authority will be hosting a refresher course for their drivers. “This is done to discipline them. However, if complaints persist, we will not spare any one. Action will be taken against them,” he asserted.
Rajesh Shah, a Viman Nagar-based businessman, said he is literally scared of PMPML buses. “These buses have little respect for other vehicles on the road. I am scared each time a bus tries to overtake my car, which they mostly do from the wrong side.”