An efficient public transport system is a vital part of Pune’s smart city project. Unfortunately, this remains an elusive dream. The traffic in Pune is chaotic and the public transport is absolutely shabby.
Waiting for a bus tests the patience as timings are never maintained. The buses too are old, dirty and rarely maintained. A breakdown is inevitable and taking a bus has now become a risky affair. One of the main reasons for traffic logjams in the city is the sheer number of vehicles on the road.
More than 25,00,000 two-wheelers and over 6,00,000 four-wheelers are plying on the roads of the city. Approximately, 800 new private vehicles are being registered everyday in city.
So what have the authorities have done so far? The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) have jointly tried to tackle the traffic problems in city.
To handle the situation, both the municipal corporations decided to start the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS). The corporations won approval for the BRT project, with network length 68.80 km, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme and were sanctioned Rs 1013.97 crore.
So far, some BRT routes in city have been completed. These include the Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi -Nagar Road and Katraj-
These include the Sangamwadi-Vishrantwadi -Nagar Road and Katraj-Hadpsar under the PMC and Aundh-Ravet, Nashik Phata-Wakad under the PCMC.
However the situation remains very poor despite these routes.
The flow of buses is very limited on these routes.
The Katraj-Hadapsar route is pathetic. The BRT lane seems to be open to all and all vehicles enter the BRT lane despite it being especially for buses. There is absolute chaos here from morning to night.
And this route was supposed to be Pune’s first BRT route!
Other planned BRT routes are facing indefinite delays. Currently, the PMC is extending the Aundh-Ravet route to the Rajiv Gandhi Bridge in Aundh and to the Shimla Office in Shivajinagar. Work is still in progress at the old Pune-Mumbai highway to Harris Bridge at Bopodi and further to Sancheti Hospital in Shivajinagar.
The PCMC’s route from Dapodi to Nigdi has been completed. But no buses ply this route. And same is the fate of the Kalewadi to Alandi route.
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) owns 1,200 buses and has 850 other buses on contract basis, according to their website.
But these figures are mere statistics. For example, most of the contracted buses are in very poor condition and prone to breakdowns regularly.
Another issue is the relation of bus stops to the BRT buses. The BRT buses have doors on both the left and right sides.
This confuses the commuter. On the BRT route, the bus stops are on the right. When these buses enter the regular roads, the bus stops are on the left.
There is no consistency too. On the Katraj-Hadaspar BRT lane, the bus stops are on the left instead of the right. This is confusing.When asked about this, a PMPML official said, “The Katraj-Hadpasar BRT is a pilot BRT project and the other new BRT routes are functional. In this year’s budget, the PMC has made provision to develop the Katraj-Hadapsar as new BRT rout which will be having bus stops on the right side.”
The only glimmer of hope is the appointment of Tukaram Mundhe as PMPML Commissioner. Since he took over last month, he has cracked down on erring PMPML officials and drivers.Hopefully, this crackdown will bring efficiency in a directionless organisation and eventually ease the traffic woes in the city.
We sincerely hope he is allowed to function effectively and visible change is witnessed in the month’s to come.
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