People thronging counters for tickets at Gongabu bus park, in Kathmandu, on Friday, September 8, 2017. Photo: Balkrishna Thapa Chhetri/THT
Kathmandu, September 8 Following the reluctance of transport entrepreneurs to open pre-booking of bus tickets for Dashain on time, the government is mulling over hiring private school and college buses to facilitate commuters in long-routes during the Dashain festival. Department of Transport management (DoTM) — the government body that looks after the country’s transportation sector — has informed that the government will operate school and college buses as per demand during Dashain if transport entrepreneurs do not open the pre-booking of bus tickets in a full-fledged manner immediately. “Though Dashain is just two weeks ahead, transport entrepreneurs have still not opened pre-booking of bus tickets and have been persisting with their demands with the government. As such behaviour of transport entrepreneurs will affect Dashain commuters, DoTM will run private school and college buses in different routes to facilitate people leaving the Valley for the celebrations,” said Tok Raj Pandey, spokesperson for DoTM. As per Pandey, DoTM is currently holding discussions with Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal and National Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal regarding hiring private school buses for Dashain. DoTM is also studying prospects of using Sajha buses in different long-routes if required. “We’d like to assure commuters that they will easily get tickets this Dashain either from government or transport entrepreneurs,” he added. Asking the government to allow vehicles to have top-carriage, repair damaged rural roads and hike public transportation fare, transport entrepreneurs have been refusing to accept pre-booking of bus tickets. While the government has been saying that addressing these demands is not an overnight process, transport entrepreneurs are demanding the government to fulfil their demands immediately. “The direction of the government to remove top-carriage from vehicles is illogical as vehicles cannot carry large luggage of commuters inside the vehicle. Similarly, roads across the country have been damaged badly by the recent floods and landslides and need to be repaired quickly,” said Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs. Sitaula informed that transport entrepreneurs are not in a position to take pre-booking of bus tickets, despite the various attempts made by the government, unless these ‘logical’ demands of transport entrepreneurs are addressed by the government.