After Friday’s accident at Sinhagad Fort, a technical team from Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMMPL) visited the ghat section and identified the reasons behind the accident.
While the forest department plans to carry out trajectory corrections at accident-prone places (narrow section in the ghat section), the PMPML has also planned to offer advanced training to its drivers transporting tourists in e-buses.
Less than a fortnight after its opening, the Sinhagad e-bus service has already reported two incidents with the recent Friday, in which 28 passengers narrowly escaped after an electric bus hit the railing of the section ghat. Although no one was injured, the railing was damaged.
Deputy Conservator of Forests Rahul Patil said, “It’s an ongoing process and the authorities are working on road improvements to prevent accidents.”
According to PMPML drivers, there are a few tight corners where bus driving becomes difficult. “There is a bend at the end of the course when reaching the fort which is the reason for all the mishaps. The narrow bend is adjacent to a large wall,” said PMPML electric bus driver Satyawan Kadam.
The PMPML launched the e-bus service on May 1. All private vehicles are now prohibited in the ghat section and can be parked on the available space in Donaje village.
“We have started providing training to all drivers. We teach them how to drive (in the ghat section) and general procedure,” said Sunil Burse, Chief Engineer, PMPML.
PMPML officials also plan to prepare a report and send it to the organizing committee. “All new infrastructure changes are done on a regular basis. Better roads, parking lots and bus stops will be available soon. Other concerns will also be addressed. “I observed that the narrow road in a hairpin bend can be blamed for the mishaps. I will include this in the report to the relevant department and advise changes,” Burse added.
The popular tourist spot receives massive footfall every weekend. This increased the load on the e-bus service. “Due to the overfilling of e-buses, the load increases making it difficult to take the bus on sharp turns. So we are planning to increase the frequencies in the next 15 days,” said Satish Ghate, gatekeeper. -media spokesperson, PMPML.
After two accidents, Vijay Kumar, an official from Olectra Manufacturers, whose buses run to the fort, also visited the stretch with the PMPML team. Kumar said, “The roads were developed many years ago. We need to be patient for the operation to be smooth and it will happen soon. E-buses are quite efficient for the slopes.
District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh was unavailable for comment. Currently. there are 24 buses in active service as well as two chargers for the buses.
Passengers pointed to the lack of proper medical facilities, bus stops without blinds, which is inconvenient in summer. Snehal Gaikwad, a resident of Pune who had come with her family to experience the online services, said: “We had to stand in the scorching heat for hours. Private vehicles were better for us. It is very expensive and the facilities provided are very meager.