Pedestrian protest: 7th Feb 2009

Parisar, along with other like-minded groups such as Lokayat, Janwani, Pune Cycle Pratishtan and Pedestrians First organized a protest march from Model Colony to University chowk and back on 7th Feb 2009 to protest against the abysmal quality of pedestrian facilities on that stretch of road in particular and Pune in general. The protest was attended by nearly 100 citizens who marched in peak hour traffic demanding the rights of pedestrians to walk and cross the road safely.

Metro problems

Two big Indian cities, Bangalore and Hyderabad, have been in the news recently because of controversies created by the Metro Rail projects in those cities.

PMPML bus purchases

The most recent transport related issue in Pune media is the controversial proposal by PMPML to purchase about 250 buses (including AC buses) under a public-private partnership (PPP), overturning an earlier decision to buy about 650 normal semi low-floor buses. The controversy has centred around the way the new purchase orders were given – based on a letter from the Secretary to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra – whereas the earlier proposal to purchase buses by PMPML was in accordance with the procedures and norms laid down by JNNURM which is funding the bulk of the purchase. The controversy also extends to whether PMPML should own the buses or whether private parties should, and whether AC buses – which cost a lot more – are required when even the basic bus service is not being provided to any degree of satisfaction.

PMPML bus fares

PMPML bus fares were a hot topic of discussion over the last 0-10 months. First, PMPML increased its fares when diesel prices went up in the middle of last year (2008). This increase was disproportionately high compared to the diesel price rise. Later, when diesel prices dropped, PMPML reluctantly decreased its fares after much hue and cry, but this time the decrease was disproportionately little. Many citizens' groups, including Parisar, having been protesting regularly against such ill-treatment of PMPML commuters, who are often from the poorer segments of society, when improving the efficiency and performance of PMPML can yield far greater returns. Moreover, preliminary analysis suggests that the fare hike has not helped PMPML much in terms increasing its revenues due to a fall in ridership.