Pune Municipal Corporation Considers Expanding ‘Priority Zones’ to Government and Private Offices

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PUNE: Following the successful implementation of ‘priority zones’ around schools to enhance children’s safety, promote public transport usage, alleviate traffic congestion, and combat air pollution, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is contemplating an extension of this concept to encompass government and private establishments across the city.

The innovative concept, initially centered around schools, is now being explored for broader application. A traffic planner at PMC, outlined the forthcoming steps, stating, “Our focus is to examine the feasibility of expanding this pioneering initiative, ensuring accessibility and effective public transport connectivity. Our initial target is to introduce a priority zone around the PMC main office situated in Shivajinagar. Currently, a significant portion of employees rely on private vehicles for commuting. To counter this, we are exploring the potential of launching dedicated bus services for employees, aimed at discouraging the use of personal vehicles and other modes of transportation.”

PMC officials are contemplating the designation of priority zones that encompass the PMC main office, central building, and collector’s office. Additionally, areas such as Kharadi IT Park, Magarpatta, Phursungi IT offices, and Yerwada IT Park are being considered for similar designations. Drawing inspiration from the Hinjewadi Industries Association, which has already implemented a special bus service for its employees, similar measures might be introduced in the IT hubs of Kharadi, Magarpatta, and Yerawada. Private companies might be encouraged to adjust office timings, enabling employees to travel in staggered batches, thereby reducing traffic congestion.

He further detailed, “We are exploring the feasibility of introducing an e-bus feeder service for these private office zones. However, this necessitates a comprehensive travel demand management (TDM) study, encompassing factors such as office timings, employee count, private vehicle usage, peak-hour traffic patterns, and more in the concerned areas. Engaging with both governmental and private establishments and taking their perspectives into account will be pivotal.”

Expanding on the concept of ‘school priority zones’, the PMC is now directing its attention towards identifying analogous priority zones for government and private establishments. The goal is to encourage a shift from private vehicle reliance to a more sustainable and eco-friendly dependence on public transportation. This strategic move not only aims to unclog city roads and ease traffic bottlenecks but also to curtail air pollution while offering secure travel options. By extending the notion of priority zones beyond the educational realm, the PMC aspires to reshape the urban landscape, making efficient and environmentally-conscious commuting a standard practice rather than an exception.