Reasons Why Raising the Fares of PMPML is WRONG!Edit
Here are some reasons why the bus fare hike of PMPML services announced in Sep 08 is unjustified:
- PMPML fares are already the most expensive in the country compared to Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore etc
- It caters mainly to people who are unable (for several reasons) to own and operate their own vehicle, including women, senior citizens and students. For the poorest people, this fare hike is a cruel blow at a time when they are already facing rampant inflation
- The Vision in the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) prepared for Pune is To focus on moving people safely and economically by emphasizing sustainable modes of travel like public transport and non-motorized transport. Increasing fares goes against the grain of this stated Vision
- While there are inefficiencies in PMPML, the commuters should not have to pay the price for this
- Huge indirect subsidies are being given to private vehicles
- Users of PMPML are doing the city a service and saving it huge amounts of money - if all these commuters were to switch to two-wheelers or cars, there would be terrible congestion and pollution
- The city spends hundreds of crores providing roads, flyovers and free (or cheap) parking to cars and two-wheelers
- When PMPML was created by merging PMT and PCMT operations, the two Municipalities agreed to bear losses for a period of three years
- Diesel price rise has only led to a 4 crore increase in expenses for PMPML, the fare hike will net almost 30 crores for them
- After the recent fuel price rise (and subsequent rise in rickshaw fares etc.), the ridership of PMPML buses had gone up to the point where they had almost reached operational break-even point without doing anything.
- Increasing fares will reduce ridership and thus not even get them the expected returns. PMPML should instead focus on improving efficiency and cutting some routes (especially ones that are being run at the insistence of some politicians)
On Saturday 4th Oct 08, more than 100 citizens from various civic groups such as Pune Bus Pravasi Sangh, Lokayat, Sajag Nagrik Manch, Molkarin Sanghatana, Parisar and Janwani participated in a protest march from Deccan Gymkhana bus station to the Swargate head office of PMPML, to against the bus fare hike. They presented a petition to Mr. Subbarao Patil, CMD of PMPML, against the bus fare hike.
In his response, Mr. Patil said PMPML will be happy to reconsider the price rise if greater budgetary support was forthcoming from the cities of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad, and quoted examples such as octroi and tax waivers that bus services in Chennai and Bangalore got as the reasons why they did not have to raise fares.