Are you aware that amongst all the sources of air pollution, vehicular emissions have the highest adverse health impacts?
The main hazardous pollutants of fossil fuels-based vehicular emissions are particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide(NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gases. Out of these, the fine and ultrafine PM is able to penetrate the cells of most organs and cause severe respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological illnesses and even premature death, especially in children and the elderly.
While Pune city’s population is approximately 35 lakhs, the number of registered vehicles has crossed 38 lakhs. This explosive growth in vehicular population has meant an increase in vehicular emissions, and hence increased air pollution. Reducing the usage of private vehicles will reduce vehicular emissions to a large extent.
A robust public transportation system can address these issues and ensure that citizens have an option to use their personal vehicles. Shifting from cars to public transport can deliver a 65 per cent emissions reduction during peak times and a 95 per cent reduction in emissions during off peak times from the commuters that make the shift.
*The fuel consumption of a passenger travelling on a bus carrying 40 passengers is 4 times lower than the per passenger consumption of a car carrying 2 persons.
* Buses fare way better than cars even in terms of road space. Per passenger road space taken by a bus is 3 times lower than a car. Therefore, congestion increases when cars take up extra road space.
* Higher the congestion more is the time spent by vehicles on the road. The vehicle's engines run longer, thus emitting more pollutants.
Pune is one of the 102 non-attainment cities that does not meet the NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards) under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). Under the Pune City Action Plan, as mandated by the NCAP, Pune has committed to improve its public transport, including PMPML's service, as one of the key actions for reducing air pollution.
It has now become crucial that the citizens shift from their personal vehicles to public transport. This would be possible only if PMPML provides an efficient system - clean and comfortable buses deployed at regular intervals, with minimum breakdowns, providing a safe and reliable journey to its commuters - thereby increasing its ridership.
Has the PMPML shown a rise in ridership? The trend of average daily ridership of PMPML buses over the last few years does not paint a very encouraging picture. The ridership in March 2016 was 10.09 lakhs whereas after three years, the March 2019 ridership dropped to 9.90 lakhs. In this same period, private vehicles (2 wheelers and cars) have shown a staggering increase of 9.20 lakhs!
On the contrary, a few months ago Mumbai's bus service, BEST, was being severely criticized for its falling ridership. But with focused planning, and with a substantial reduction in bus fare, they increased their ridership by 9 lakhs in just 10 days! This shows that with some creative thinking and dedicated effort, it is very possible to ramp up PMPML's performance too, and there needs to be a will in the administration to do so.
Along with Parisar, a civil society organisation working on making Pune more liveable with a focus on sustainable urban transport, we urge PMPML to commit to double their ridership in three years with a 25% increase each year. There should be an increased bus force, efficient deployment and maintenance of buses and better management of routes to help achieve the long-term goal of clean air and a congestion-free Pune.
Sign this petition for a decongested, traffic-free and more environmentally sustainable Pune!