DCF , along with its partner The Sakal media group, took the initiative to plan a ‘Pune Bus Day’ to highlight and publicize the need for a better bus service, bring together a wide array of stakeholders to support the effort and run almost twice the number of buses on November 1, 2012 with an appeal to people to use the city bus instead of their own vehicle on that day. The whole event was planned in partnership with PMPML, the city bus service provider. Parisar a civil society organization working on lobbying and advocacy for sustainable development. conducted a couple of independent surveys (user feedback survey and traffic count survey) to assess the impact of the event. The results show an overall high level of satisfaction with the concept.
The Pune Municipal Corporation has in the past been requested to consider having a ‘Car Free Day’ (in the context of Indian cities, this would imply both a car and two-wheeler free day). The city of Pune has however expressed reservations up such a project, mainly for the fear of a backlash from the already large segment of population that is addicted to personal motorized modes of transport.
In this context the effort of the Sakal media group was to try and encourage the use of public transport on one day, by launching a massive campaign, while not mandating it, since such authority only vests with the city.
Traffic was measured at two main spots in the city on the Bus day itself, as well as three days prior to it, to quantify the change in traffic. This was done using video filming and then counting the traffic.
For the first time in its history, PMPML got an advance of Rs 52 Crore from both Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad corporations for issuing passes. Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations directed the PMPML to issue free/concessional passes in various categories for students, senior citizens, visually and physically challenged, staff of the two civic bodies, etc. Unlike previous years, this year the civic bodies released Rs 52 crore as advance payment for passes.
It was a long pending demand to rationalize the fares in proportion of Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 15, Rs 20, Rs 25 and Rs 30. It has helped to solve the problem of change faced by the people and conductors of the PMPML. This will also help reduce the arguments between commuters and conductors and facilitate speedy ticket selling, especially during peak hours.
The PMPML has handed over land to Maharashtra Natural Gas Limited (MNGL) to erect six more Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations to refill the buses that run on the green fuel. There is an urgent need to increase the number of CNG pumps. Another four CNG stations have been proposed. Even other vehicles running on CNG will be able to use these stations.
With the help of Pune Municipal Corporation, PMPML has started the e-tendering system unlike the earlier method of traditional system of tenders, where things were easy to manipulate. This will speed up the tendering process and help prevent manipulation. The e-tendering process is a good step ahead by the PMPML to improve the efficiency of the public transport system in the city.
Overall The Pune Bus Day was a resounding success and an example of mobilizing people power in an urban area to greatly optimize and improve its transportation system and act as a paradigm of Big Fast Results achieved in Urban Development.