PMPML suspends e-bus service at Sinhagad Fort

Pune The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMMPL) has suspended its e-bus service to Sinhagad Fort from Tuesday. Thanks to this, tourists will now be able to take private vehicles to the fort, a popular tourist spot that attracts thousands of visitors every weekend.

Launched on a trial basis on May 2, the e-bus had received a good response although the narrow roads, sharp turns and running buses on the uphill slope had a high impact on the charging of the buses.

Less than a fortnight after opening, the Sinhagad e-bus service had reported two incidents with the recent Friday, in which 28 passengers narrowly escaped after an electric bus hit the railing of the ghat section . Although no one was injured, the railing was damaged in the accident.

“The service will be suspended until the seven-meter buses are no longer available. Currently we have nine meter buses that have problems when making turns on steep roads. From Tuesday one can drive to Sinhagad Fort as they did earlier on two and four wheelers,” said Rahul Patil, Pune Deputy Forest Conservator.

According to PMPML officials, apart from wider roads and smaller buses, more charging stations are needed to make the ride more comfortable for the public.

“With visitors encountering issues like bus breakdowns, minor accidents, PMPML has decided in recent days to suspend the service and it will reintroduce small buses after that,” PMPML said in its Monday statement.

A total of 7,685 people visited Sinhagad Fort on Sunday with 24 buses making 209 trips and the total revenue collected was 3,62,600.

“Looking at the incidents of a few minor accidents in the past 15 days, there is also a need to upgrade infrastructure such as widening roads and providing more power for recharging. Now we know all the flaws and once we upgrade, facilities service will start again,” said Chetna Kerure, Co-CEO of PMPML.

A meeting has also been scheduled to address issues regarding the service which is facing opposition from residents as well as some organisations. Passengers had also expressed their dissatisfaction with the high fares. For a round trip, visitors had to pay 100 plus parking fee for private vehicles.

“The PWD, Forest Department, MSEDCL and PMPML who had visited Sinhagad Fort yesterday (Sunday) will hold a meeting with Chairman and CEO Laxminarayan Mishra tomorrow (Tuesday) to decide on the future plan,” Chetna said. Kerure, co-director general of the PMPML.

On weekends, 25 buses were operational while on weekdays, 10 buses were operating.

Opposing the e-bus service, the Raje Shivray Pratishthan group staged a protest on Sunday that left buses blocked for three hours. Buses were blocked as many local private vehicle owners in Donje village were angry at the decision to ban private vehicles which led to unrest at Sinhagad Fort. Residents objected to the administration’s e-bus initiative, saying it had harmed their businesses.

“Small electric buses can be used on the route”

After meeting with the Pune Forest Department and PMPML officials to discuss accident prevention measures in the ghat section of Sinhagad Fort, it was decided to temporarily halt the PMPML bus services. Small-sized electric buses can be used on this route, but they must be added to the transport utility’s fleet,” Deputy Chief Minister and Custodian Minister of Pune District, Ajit Pawar, told the Council on Monday. Lobby.

Pawar said barricades damaged in the ghat section of the fort during the PMPML electric bus accident on May 13 need to be repaired before bus service resumes.

Melvin Z. Madore