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Retired army personnel Col R D Singh can often be spotted at traffic signals holding a placard that promotes use of public transport for commuting. "About three years ago, I noticed that almost every single day, the newspapers reported about youngsters getting seriously injured or meeting death due to road accidents. I realised that something had to be done and came up with the idea of promoting public transport in the city and founded Pune Bus Pravasi Suvidha Sanghatna (PBPSS)," he says. PBPSS promotes usage of public transport in the city and the members of the organisation travel either by PMPML buses or by foot.
The 75-year-old feels that in Pune people are not able to reach anywhere on time because of the growing number of vehicles on the road that causes traffic congestion. "A family of four owns a minimum of two cars. Why can't they use one car or practice carpooling and save the environment from excessive pollution," he says. Construction of new flyovers or broadening of roads, according to him, will not be of much help, as the number of vehicles on the road are increasing as well. Instead, the government should provide more buses for public convenience. "More funds should be allocated for better maintenance of public buses so that they are available to the public on time. Not only is public transport safer, it is also economical," he adds.
Shocked by the heinous crimes against women in the country, Singh believes that women would be much safer in public buses than in private ones. "If a woman travels in a public bus, which is almost always crowded, no one would dare to misbehave with her," says Col Singh. After retiring from the army almost 20 years ago, Singh wanted to bring changes in society.Today, he spends almost six to eight hours working to promote public transport everyday, and says he gets good response from the public and people come up to him and are willing to volunteer for the programme too. Even the traffic safety officials appreciate what he is doing for the city.