Pune Mirror: While the common man is facing many hardships owing to the recent petrol price hike, the one firm that’s laughing its way to the bank is the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML).
Ever since the petrol prices went through the roof on September 15, people are being forced to choose this mode of transport, resulting in PMPML’s earnings crossing Rs-one-crore mark daily. But given its shortage of manpower and ailing buses, it might be difficult for the firm to capitalise on these windfall gains.
Before the petrol prices shot up, PMPML’s daily revenue would cross the Rs one crore mark only on certain days. Since September 15, the week has been good for the transport body.
A PMPML official told Mirror, “Earlier, our daily revenue collection would be in the range of Rs 75 lakh to Rs 90 lakh. The collection used to cross Rs one crore only on Mondays and Thursdays as there is a rush of passengers on these days. The petrol price hike took place on September 15 and from that day till now, the lowest collection for us was on September 18. And that was Rs 1,01,51,981.”
Though the PMPML is enjoying higher revenue, it might be just be a temporary phase for the transport body as it is not prepared to handle a high passenger flow.
Currently, PMPML has a fleet of 1,623 buses, of which 1,296 are owned by PMPML and 327 are hired from private operators. Out of the total fleet, nearly 350 to 400 buses remain off road.
Another PMPML official said, “These buses are off road either because they are broken down or the PMPML does not have drivers to run them. If all these buses come on the road, there will be a sharp increase in the revenue and it will be beneficial for Puneites too.”
The PMPML has around 2,800 drivers to drive 1,296 buses owned by them. The buses provided by private operators have drivers hired by the operators themselves. The PMPML is planning to add 350 new buses to its existing fleet. But the problem of getting drivers still looms large.
Sunil Gawali, traffic manager, PMPML, said, “We are looking to recruit 350 more drivers, but as the code of conduct is in place, their recruitment is on hold. Once the new buses under JNNURM will be added to the existing fleet, we will have to recruit more drivers.”