Pune, 23rd January 2024: In a bid to enhance its fleet and cater to the growing demand for public transportation, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is set to welcome 500 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses into its ranks by June. The decision, approved during a recent meeting of the PMPML Board of Directors, entails leasing 400 buses and acquiring ownership of the remaining 100.
The move comes as a response to the challenges faced by PMPML in securing electric buses, a plan that has been delayed for the past one and a half to two years. The tender process for the induction of the CNG buses has already commenced, with the new additions expected to be operational before the end of the current academic year. The buses, measuring 12 meters in length, aim to alleviate transportation constraints, especially during the upcoming holiday season in April and May.
Presently, PMPML operates 981 self-owned buses alongside 1,098 buses owned by seven different contractors. With the influx of 400 leased CNG buses, the contractor-owned fleet will expand to 1,498, surpassing the self-owned buses at 1,081. This shift raises concerns about an increased reliance on contractors, potentially posing challenges for PMPML in the future.
Despite the apprehensions, the move is anticipated to benefit the commuting public, with an estimated average of 730 passengers per CNG bus daily. The 500 additional buses are poised to cater to at least three lakh 65 thousand passengers every day, offering a much-needed relief to the existing overcrowded conditions. As the bus availability rises, the hope is that the standing volume of passengers will decrease, enhancing the overall commuting experience for the residents of Pune. PMPML aims to address the demand-supply gap and ensure seamless transportation services with this strategic fleet expansion.