Pedestrians First, which takes up issues related to traffic in the city, has also suggested that the traffic police and the PMPML float a joint panel for better coordination between them in streamlining efforts.
“We understand the gravity of the traffic problem during festivals owing to shoppers’ rush. The right solution would have been to restrict private vehicles and clear the path for public transport buses.
The opposite reportedly happened recently. PMPML buses were banned on Shivaji Road and Bajirao Road prior to and during Diwali whereas private vehicles were allowed to use these roads. We understand that the decision was taken suddenly by the Traffic Police without any advance information to PMPML or any discussion with it,” stated Prashant Inamdar, convener of Pedestrians First in a letter to Pune Municipal Commissioner Mahesh Pathak and Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare.
Inamdar said the restrictions forced buses to take a long detour via Tilak Road, Fergusson College Road and Jangli Maharaj Road. “This caused hardships for bus commuters and impeded their mobility. They had to walk long distances or use rickshaws to reach their destinations.
Even rickshaws were not available and people were stranded. Senior citizens, women and children were the worst affected. When we all are talking about the importance of public transport for the city, such situations send a contradictory message prompting people to abandon public transport and opt for private transport. This trend would prove disastrous for the city,” he said.
“Because of their size, buses are considered a major hindrance to traffic flow and become the first victim of restrictions by traffic police.
“This is a misconception. The mobility of people rather than mobility of vehicles should be taken into account. There are about 40 lakh vehicles in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad but only about 2,000 of them are buses. Traffic Police should devise appropriate policies and procedures to give priority to public transport and ensure that any step that affects public transport is avoided,” the Pedestrians First said.
“We suggest a permanent high-level ‘Traffic Police-PMPML Coordination Committee’ for regular interaction on traffic related matters. They should work to safeguard public transport,” Inamdar said.