PMPML starts 2 buses for women, plans 100 more in three months

The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) on Thursday introduced two buses for women and students in the city. The buses will ply on the Swargate-Hadapsar and Swargate-Katraj routes.

"Thousands of women travel by autorickshaw to avoid crowded buses. Many of them take their children to school by two-wheelers on city's unsafe roads," said director of PMPML Prashant Jagtap.

The transport utility also plans to add another 100 such buses within the next three months. The buses have female conductors and male drivers. "We do not have trained female drivers at the moment. The PMPML as well as women are unsure of the idea owing to the heavy nature of the vehicles," said Jagtap.

He said the PMPML would procure minibuses that would ply within the city and driven by women. Such minibuses should be operational in six months, he added.

Kalpana Takawle, a resident of Dhayari and the first commuter on the bus to Katraj, said, "I travel in crowded buses everyday. Unruly men push and refuse to get up from seats. They purposely fall on women and blame the driver for applying sudden brakes," she said.

Trupti Dogde, who handled stand bookings for three years before the bus was launched and was transferred to the Katraj-bound bus as a conductor, said, "This is the first time women have been hired as bus conductors in the city and I think it indicates progress. The women-only bus will save many women a lot of trouble."

Dogde's co-conductor Rupali Mate said, "Ours is not like a state transport bus job where we can sit down once we depart and only get up on reaching the next city. We will have to learn to stand all the time as passengers will get off at every stop."

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