Punekars give up commuting on private transport to curb traffic woes
When Kajari Mitra, senior manager, British council, returned from Canada 20 years ago, she was petrified of the traffic and of driving on the roads of Pune. This got her to hire a driver. However, being dependable on a driver had its own cons. So, Mitra had to think of an alternative.
Car on the finger tips
Mitra says, “I learnt to drive in Canada. The public transport and rickshaws in Pune were not very cooperative as I live near the airport. Hence, I was forced to buy a car. Six years later, I realised how dependant I was on my driver. Three months ago, I sold my car off.”
She now uses private cabs to commute to her office in Shivajinagar and also uses the same for outstation trips. Mitra says, “So far it has been pretty convenient. I don’t have to worry about my driver turning up, or parking spaces or worse the maintenance/repair of the car.”
On a monthly basis, including the driver’s salary, maintenance and fuel, Kajari would spend somewhere around Rs10,000 and now this amount has come down to 4,800 per month. “I have saved up on the driver’s salary completely. Plus I don’t have to worry about him taking leaves. Above all,I’m independent.”
Mitra enjoys her daily conversations with cabbies and looks forward to a new ride daily.
For healthy options
Similarly, the Agashe couple sold their car three years ago, after their daughter persuaded them to do so. “Before I disposed of my car, I was using it for 20-25 years. Having frequently shuttled between Mumbai and Pune, we were used to the public transport in both the cities. My daughter Irawati pushed us to get rid of our car and rely on our two wheeler,” Anand Agashe, senior journalist, author and publisher. However, he adds that this was on their mind for a while as they wanted to get out of their comfort zone and live the minimalistic life.
Now the Agashe’s, use public cab services, rickshaw or their two wheeler. Interestingly, Anand’s wife, Sujata has grown fond of walking for a while now.“I have been using public transport for the longest time. I am aware of the timing and keep a track. If the bus is not on time I just start walking. It helps me stay fit and has given me a sense of freedom too.”
Sujata adds that the advantages have been plenty with just a few irritants. “To be honest, I am only worried about an emergency situation as I have my mother staying with me. Apart from that I see no reason to be missing the car. Walking has helped me stay healthy, enthusiastic, and I feel less depressed.”
Anand shares that initially he was a little skeptical however now he has eased in. “Getting out of your comfort zone is not easy. But we realised that we were used to the car. However, there was no reason for us to be. Planning the day in advance makes everything easy.”
They agree that the monthly budget has seen a considerable drop.
Doing his bit for the environment
For software professional Shrikant Kulkarni, his car was more of a decorative piece in his garage, to be used only on weekends. “My office provides me pick and drop facility. I work six days a week and get only a day off. Months would go by with me not taking the car out. A friend pointed this out and offered to buy the car.”
Initially for the first few weeks Kulkarni did feel handicapped without his car but eventually it became easier. “My two wheeler was a safer bet as I did not have to worry about parking space, repairs or huge maintenance charges.”
Kulkarni believes he is doing his bit by not using the car. “I don’t know whether it is making a huge difference. But, I am sure it is helpful in some way. Also, I have started to walk more and have more conversations with people while travelling by public transport.”