Fare rate cut elicits ‘Bah!’ from commuters

Kathmandu, March 5:

The petroleum price reduction — the fifth time in six months — by Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) isn’t giving the jollies to the people as they are not experiencing any public transport fare rates’ reduction.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management (MoLTM) adjusted

the transport fares that were supposed to come into effect from today.

“I paid as usual,” said Dambar Karki, a regular commuter by public transport. Karki paid Rs 11 from Baneshwor to go to Ratnapark by a micro-bus. Passengers in Kathmandu Valley paid equal amounts for their journey, regardless of varying distances — the minimum Rs 11 in micro-buses and nine rupees in mini-buses. The fare was the same that they had been paying since last year when the petrol price was Rs 100 per litre. Now, the petrol price has come down to Rs 77.50 litre and diesel to Rs 55.

It was the same old story, be it long or short route bus services. Gopal Paudel, a clerk at Gongabu Bus Terminal, said he issued the old price tickets even today.

The government has fixed nine rupees as minimum fare for upto three km, Rs 10 for upto four km, Rs 11 for upto seven km and Rs 12 for upto nine km. However, the transport entrepreneurs are charging the same flat rate that they had fixed last year at the height of petroleum price rise.

Transport entrepreneurs have heard about the new rates but ignored it. They have their logic. “We haven’t got any circular from the Federation of National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNTE),” one transport entrepreneur. Kamal Khadka, a transport worker with Mid-valley Transport Service (MTS), echoed, “I know fares have been slashed. However, can’t reduce the fares without a notice from FNTE”.

The Consumer Protection Forum (CPF) slammed the government move. “It is absurd. The government has not identified the factors contributing to the logistics of transportation fares,” said CPF general secretary Jyoti Baniya.

“Transport fares will become effective from next week,” said FNTE president Dinesh Bhandari, “We need to inform all the sister associations by Sunday.”

According to him, FNTE has yet to get the notice about the reduced fare rates from the Department of Transport Management. Bhandari assured that transport entrepreneurs would abide by the new fare rates from Monday.