PMPML wants free travel scrapped, to hike other fares by Re 1

Citing an increase in expenditure owing to a rise in prices of diesel that translating into an increase in expenditure including payment made to vehicles hired on contract and increased cost of spare parts, public transport utility PMPML has proposed cancellation of all its concession passes and free-travel passes allowed to certain categories of citizens, including students, and have sought to increase the fare by a rupee.

In a proposal to be taken up for discussion in the next meeting of the Board of Directors, the PMPML said its predecessor, the Pune Municipal Transport (PMT), had started free passes for the visually impaired, deaf and dumb, physically handicapped, freedom fighters, journalists, and President's Award winners, besides PMC staff and office bearers by passing resolutions in 1987 and 1991. Resolutions passed by the PMC in 1953 and 1965 further allowed a 50 per cent concession for school and college students.

After the PMPML was formed by merging PMT and PCMT in 2007, the discount travel scheme continued and according to PMPML, it has translated into a loss of Rs 154 crore in six years.

The PMPML grouse is that the public transport company has not been getting any compensation for this loss from either the civic body or the state government.

"The PMPML has been demanding funds from PMC and PCMC for continuing discount pass services but have not received any favourable response so far," it said adding if the two local civic bodies pay for free and discount pass service, the PMPML would tide over the losses and make its services more efficient.

The current financial condition of PMPML is not sound which was making it difficult to manage, and impacting the performance of employees, it said. "It is in the interest of PMPML to discontinue free and discount pass services if there is no funding from the civic bodies," the proposal said.

PMPML said an increase of Re 1 for travel for a distance of more than four km has been proposed.

Incidentally, the PMPML proposal comes after elected representatives of PMC and PCMC did not respond in favour of its the suggestion that the two local civic bodies reserve funds for the free and discounted passes in their budgets.

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