PMPML buses break traffic signals, others follow
Many city buses are seen violating traffic norms causing a threat to passengers and other road users.
Oliviya Kunjumon, Pune | Commuters breaking traffic rules is a common sight in Pune. At every signal, you will come across a few people that will jump the red light or honk endlessly until the vehicle ahead of them does so. However, what's even a bigger problem is the public transport buses paying no heed to the red signal across the city.
Driving in the Pune Traffic is a hefty task with lots of uncertainty. Amid the muddle, Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses using jumbo space and steering the mood of the road, are indeed a spectacle for the average Punekar's eye. Though PMPML's motto is to provide the best facilities to residents of Pune, many city buses are seen violating traffic norms causing a threat to passengers and other road users.
The traffic violations by the PMPML and other vehicles include jumping signals, allowing passengers to travel on footboards, halting buses at non-designated stops and sometimes ignoring circles. It has also become a common scene to see buses plying with doors open and passengers boarding and alighting at signals.
This is an almost regular sight daily. Traffic signals are broken almost every minute by the PMPML buses at the Deccan corner signal, Deccan Gymkhana chowk, which is one of the major traffic signals in the city. Waiting at any of these signals for 20 minutes, PMPML buses, cars, bikes, auto rickshaws, etc. can be seen ignoring the red light. And it’s not just during peak office hours, it's all throughout the day.
@PCcityPolice @PuneCityTraffic What is the fine for Jumping signals for PMPML buses ?— Saumitra R Lonkar (@Saumilonkar) September 20, 2019
Do PMPML buses come under the traffic Rules ?
Never seen actions taken against PMPML buses pic.twitter.com/stofp8xlma
In the case of PMPML buses, out of an average of 21 buses between 12:00 pm to 12:40 pm today, at Deccan Corner, around seven to eight buses jumped the red signal. On the other hand, at Deccan Gymkhana Chowk, within 20 minutes of waiting, three to four buses broke signals out of an average of 15-17 buses that passed it in the given timeframe. This was despite the presence of traffic police at the chowk.
The PMPML is a joint venture owned by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), which operates in the Pune Metropolitan Region. It offers different kinds of bus services including regular, night, Pune Darshan, ladies, Airport and air-conditioned e-buses. It is one of the largest bus transport service operators and connects almost every part of Pune and suburban areas.
Vijay Ranjane, Traffic planning Officer at PMPML, said, “We are providing training to our drivers and if they violate the traffic regulations, they have to pay the challan. The fine is deducted from the driver’s salary. And if the driver is appointed by contractors, we ask them to pay the fine.”
Driving through a traffic signal when it is red is the most dangerous but common offence seen in the city. It not only risks losing one’s own life but also endangers other passengers, motorists or pedestrians on the road.
A traffic police officer at a signal in Erandwane, also confirmed on the condition of anonymity, “About two percent of PMPML buses crossing this signal are accused of jumping signals regularly and in most such cases the drivers are hired on contract basis. Sometimes the accidents involving buses are not always the fault of drivers. There are many cases of reckless driving by two-wheeler drivers and three-wheeler drivers, in which they've rammed into buses from the rear."
Speaking to Indie Journal, Kaushik Raut, a two-wheeler rider said that he has seen many instances near Deccan bus depot and in between Deccan corner and Good Luck Chowk signal, where the bus passengers suddenly hop off the vehicle causing him, at times, to lose control over the vehicle.
He said, "It is usual in peak hours and mostly, college students and youth get out of the buses that slow down for the next signal between them. There are many chances of accidents in such cases."
Photo: Olivia Kunjumon
According to the statistics shared by the traffic branch Pune city police, Yerwada traffic division, between January 1 and May 31, 2022, a total of 33,625 challans were issued for violation of traffic rules in the city for both the government and private vehicles. The data revealed that the compensation fee imposed in the city is over 1.75 crore. According to the information provided, most of the cases were related to jumping signals, not slowing down at junctions and Zebra Crossings which also included the PMPML buses. In the case of PMPML buses, the offence is captured on the CCTV cameras installed at different locations in the city and the details of bus number, route and challan issued are sent to the PMPML office headquarters.
“There are various planning and development projects ongoing in the city for providing security and convenience to passengers. We also receive several complaints of pickpocketing in certain depots during peak hours. We are looking at it seriously and there is around 50 percent working CCTV cameras installed in our buses with a storage capacity of seven days. Although it’s up to the police to take serious action,” added Ranjane.
As part of a challenge initiated by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the PMPML in agreement with the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) had last year conducted a survey of the transport body services in Pune city. Around 10,000 people were surveyed under the Centre’s “Transport 4 All Challenge”. The results declared earlier this year showed that 50 percent of the respondents termed the PMPML service unreliable.