Accident statistics pushed by ‘unfit’ PMPML autos

PUNE: 90 accidents in just the past 10 months, buses of the (PMPML) have become a major contributor to the rising number of accidents on city roads.
According to the public transport body’s own records, it has roughly 250 “unfit” buses in its operational fleet that are either too old and/or prone to breakdowns. The last time a PMPML bus was involved in a fatal accident was on November 7, 2017, when one person was killed and five were injured after the brakes of a bus failed in the area.

“Currently, we are running around 250 buses that are too old and shouldn’t be on the roads. We are forced to run them as we are still waiting for the replacements. Recently, we decided to scrap 69 old buses. The 200-strong midi-bus fleet was to fill the gap, but till now, we have received only 42 vehicles, and even in that case, 30 have been reserved as all-women buses. Even after checks and maintenance, old buses can develop snags. Moreover, the chances of old buses catching fire or experiencing brake fails are also more,” a PMPML official, who requested anonymity, told TOI.

Tukaram — who was recently transferred out of his position as the PMPML chairman and managing director — had said the number of bus breakdowns had decreased. The officials, however, said the number has actually gone up. “Last year, the contract of was cancelled and PMPML took over 200 CNG buses. But most of the buses were in a very bad shape; only about 45 remain operational,” an official said.

Transport activists said the public transport body has been ignoring its existing fleet. “If buses are catching fire frequently and brakes are failing, it shows they are not being maintained properly at the depots, and the depot managers are not doing their job. The rules made by Mundhe were commendable and someone should ensure that they are being followed,” said , the secretary of the PMP Pravasi Manch.

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