PMPML commuters decrease, activists blame fare hike

Transport body attributes lower count to Diwali vacations

The average daily commuter count of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses has gone down by 1.4 lakh from August to October. While commuter groups link the dip to the recent fare hike, PMPML authorities dismiss the claim and attribute the lower figures to Diwali vacations.

The daily average commuter count of PMPML for August 2012 was 11.83 lakh which decreased by 52,000 to 11.31 lakh in September. It further dwindled to 10.44 lakh in October recording a marked decrease of 87,454 commuters per day. November figures are not available with the officials.

Commuter groups blame it on the steep fare hike by the PMPML in the last week of September.

"A commuter dip was expected after the steep fare hike. Apathy on the part of the PMPML authorities is distancing commuters from the transport body. PMPML was among the country's costliest bus services even before the recent hike. Due to the hike, people will prefer other modes of transport than wait for an erratic and not-so-economic PMPML bus," said Jugal Rathi, president of PMP Pravasi Manch.

As reported by Newsline Monday, numerous fare stages on several routes are also shorter than the stipulated 2 km thus inflating fare considerably and making the bus journey even costlier.

Sunil Gawli, traffic manager, PMPML, rejected the claims of activists saying, "During Diwali season colleges are closed and a large chunk of workers visit their hometowns. This might result in a decrease in commuter numbers. We have observed over the years that their number in October is among the lowest in a year." Gawali couldn't explain how Diwali vacation in the second week of November could affect passenger count in October so drastically.

Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrian First said that while festival vacations and diversion of routes during Diwali could partially contribute to fall in commuters, the steep dip can only be linked to the price hike.

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