A bus commuters activist group in the Pune region of India have suggested that more bus services are desperately needed for students in the area.

The activist group, known as the PMP Pravasi Sangh, have pleaded to the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) bus company to start running more bus routes and bus services for school students in the area, saying that the number of bus routes currently running is inadequate to serve a growing student population.

According to Jugal Rathi and Vivek Velankar, members of the PMP Pravasi Sangh activist group, the number of students in Pune continues to rise, without a parallel increase in bus services. According to Rathi, the PMPML which is the only major bus company in the region, is currently only running special bus services on seven routes, which is completely inadequate.

Rathi also complains that the condition of the buses on the routes is poor, and that the bus times are unreliable. In addition, the shortage of buses in the region lead to overcrowding of the buses that are available. Rathi and other activists are concerned about the safety of students travelling in such conditions, and that it is only a matter of time until an unfortunate incident occurs that could endanger the lives of many students. It will be PMPML management and the Pune municipal corporations who will be to blame if such an incident occurs, say the PMP Pravasi Sangh members.

PMPML data released in May of this year report that 610 of their total 1770 buses are off the road due to problems with roadworthy certifications, and only operated 1150 of their planned 1387 scheduled journeys this year so far.

PMP Pravasi Sangh have recommended that approximately 400 extra buses are needed on the routes served by PMPML to meet demands, and have requested that the bus company should repair its damaged buses and maintain its current buses in order to provide these extra vehicles. In addition, they have recommended that the bus schedules be altered to better correspond with the timing of school opening and closing. In addition, the Pune municipal corporation needs to offer more financial assistance to the bus company.

The commuter activist group has further demands including that the results of bus accident inquiries be made publicly available each quarter, and that an effective daily monitoring system to record lapses in bus services should be instituted.

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