PMPML works on ‘return ticket’ facility for daily commuters

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PMPML, the city's transport service that decided to hike its fare by Re 1 on Monday, has come up with a new proposal for its 11 lakh commuters who travel daily by its buses. The PMPML management wants to work out a system of "return ticket". While the concept is popular in many countries, and the Railways has been following it, Pune could be the first city in India to have the system for bus travel if it is implemented.

At the board of directors' meeting on Monday, Pune Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak suggested that PMPML should work on a plan to introduce the concept of "return ticket" for its daily commuters. The directors discussed its pros and cons and suggested to the PMPML management to study the concept so that it could be considered for implementation.

PMPML Joint Managing Director Pravin Ashtikar said: "I won't be able to say whether we are positive or negative about introducing the facility. But yes, it was discussed and we would study the entire concept...we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of introducing the concept."

Senior officials, however, said they had been planning such a move for a long time. "This system has many advantages. One is that it will avoid unnecessary arguments between conductors and drivers. The problem of 'change' would also be solved, which is a major irritant between the conductors and the passengers," said a senior official.

Officials who attended the meeting said the directors were in favour of introducing the return ticket facility as it will bind the commuters with PMPML services. "A view emerged that PMPML would benefit if it offers discount on such tickets. Instead of using other modes of transport while returning home, a large number of commuters would be enthused to start travelling by PMPML buses," said an official.

Meanwhile, Ashtikar said the fare hike would come into effect after the Regional Transport Authority gave its approval. "The hike is applicable after first stage of travel. The price of ticket for the first stage will remain Rs 5," he said. Ashtikar said they were compelled to hike the fare as the diesel price hikes in last one year had increased the expenditure of PMPML by over Rs 53 crore per year. "By hiking the fare, we will generate Rs 45 crore — still around Rs 8 crore short," he said. The hike has been effected despite stiff opposition from commuter groups.

In Monday's meeting, PMPML also decided to reduce the per day pass charges from Rs 70 to Rs 50. Besides, the board gave a green signal to recruit 200 cleaners.

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