PMPML Update

In a move that is likely to ruffle some feathers, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is planning to privatise one of its depots by handing over its charge to a private transporter.PMPML chairmancum-managing director Subrao Patil said a prominent transport company had shown interest in running the depot. However, “the depot to be privatised is yet to be finalised,” he added.According to Patil, with the resources at its disposal, the PMPML was not in a position to increase its fleet. Hence, it is looking at private bus companies to increase the number of buses. He said, privatisation was not new to PMPML as it was already running 200 buses which have been taken on lease from private transporters. In the proposed plan, the transport operator will have to manage the entire depot with his own staff. “The operator will have to run his own buses and bear all the costs involved. While conductors will be provided for the services, the operator will be allowed to use all the facilities available at the depot,” he said, adding that after the privatisation, the existing staff members at the depot will be transferred to other depots.The PMPML — which was formed in December last following the merger of PMT and the PCMT — has 10 depots in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. Patil has prepared a detailed note on the current status of buses. He has come to a conclusion that the PMPML is running short of 685 buses. According to him, a total of 1,785 buses are required to cater to a population of 42 lakh people in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The PMPML has 1,034 buses in its fleet out of which 200 have been taken on hire. The note also states why the PMPML has been facing losses. While one of the main reasons is the increasing cost of diesel and also many of its buses were more than 10 years old. There are many service routes which earn only 50 per cent of the expenditure incurred. Similarly, there are various concessions given to students and some communities. Sharing of autorickshaws by commuters was also mentioned as one of the reasons.The PMPML, in the meantime, has undertaken various measures for rationalising its routes, like segregating low-income routes from the high-income routes.According to Patil, the PMPML has also proposed to provide services in rural areas, in association with the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. On taking buses in lieu of advertising royalty from private agencies, Patil said one of the firms, which had promised to provide 2,500 air-conditioned buses in exchange of advertising rights, had backed out. “The proposal is still open, though not much progress has been made in the past two months,” he added.

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