More than 30,000 unvaccinated commuters are disembarked every day, according to Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited
The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMMPL) has decided not to allow commuters who are not fully vaccinated as the district is fighting a increase in Covid-19 cases.
“More than 30,000 passengers across Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad region are being told to disembark so as not to have proof of their full vaccinations on them,” PMPML traffic manager Dattatray Zende told The Indian Express on Saturday. .
Zende added that they also check the vaccination status of all commuters and only those who are fully vaccinated are allowed to travel. Earlier, PMPML drivers had expressed concern about checking each passenger’s certificate before letting them board the buses.
Deepak G, a PMPML bus driver, said: “It will be difficult to check everyone due to the high number of passengers at each stop.”
However, that issue has been resolved as drivers now check status before issuing tickets, officials said.
“By giving them a ticket, drivers ask passengers to show their vaccination records. If they don’t provide it, they are asked to come down,” Zende said.
He added that there had been no major incidents of arguments between drivers and passengers who were asked to disembark. “We make around 17,000 to 18,000 trips a day. While 30,000 passengers might seem like a huge number, it only means one or two travelers are welcome to get off per trip,” he said.
However, this surely affected the earnings of PMPML, which was already reeling from pandemic-related losses. Zende said that due to the increase in cases in the city, the number of passengers traveling daily on PMPML buses has decreased by more than two lakh. “The reduction in ridership has reduced PMPML’s revenue by around 25-30 lakh per day. The landing measure costs an additional 2-3 lakh per day,” he added.
Jugan Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch, a Pune-based organization that deals with commuters’ rights, opposed the measure. “PMMPL should take a caring approach to keeping commuters safe. Many travelers are poor and illiterate and may not be aware of all measures. So instead of disembarking everyone, people with visible symptoms should be asked to disembark,” Rathi said. He added that for the safety of commuters, PMPML could take measures such as increasing the number of buses or thermal screening of travelers.