Nepal | May 25, 2020

Govt fixes temporary fare for public EVs

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, September 4

Due to mounting pressure from stakeholders to finalise the fare, the government has finally determined the fare for public electric vehicles (EVs) albeit on a temporary basis. The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) for the time being has decided to fix the fare of public EVs which is similar to that of other fossil fuel operated public vehicles.

Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of DoTM, said that the department has decided to fix the fare of public EVs for the short term now and the final fare will
be determined only after EVs qualify to be used as public transport.

He further said the DoTM will soon finalise the exact fare for EVs after holding consultations with the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. “The ministry has already formed a committee to determine the fare.”

At present, the fares determined by DoTM range from a minimum of Rs 14 to a maximum of Rs 1,875. However, fare for trips in Kathmandu Valley for the moment has been fixed at Rs 29 for a 19-kilometre distance.

Operators of public electric vehicles have accused the government for lack
of proper policies and laws which has put them in a dilemma.

Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, chairman of Sundar Yatayat Pvt Ltd, said his company had bought four 40-seater electric buses and has placed an order for more such buses to operate services along Ring Road of Kathmandu Valley. “In the initial phase we have plans to start our service in Kathmandu and later expand to Biratnagar and Butwal,” he shared. “The electric buses will be air-conditioned.”

Sundar Yatayat also opened a charging station for EVs on Tuesday with the objective of addressing the government’s policy to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels. The company plans to operate electric buses in the Capital from September 9.

Meanwhile, Dinesh Kumar Ghimire, secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation (MoEWRI), said the government has adopted a policy to gradually reduce the import of fossil fuels and increase the use of electricity
produced in the country.

Thapa further claimed that a bus moving along the Ring Road consumes fuel worth Rs 4,000 daily whereas an electric vehicle uses electricity worth only Rs 700. This thus makes transportation by electric vehicles cheaper. “We have also decided to provide 20 per cent discount to travellers on the existing fares charged by fossil fuel run public vehicles.”

At present, Sundar Yatayat has set the fee to charge an electric bus at Rs 4.20 per unit of electricity. A three-phase electricity supply line has been managed by Nepal Electricity Authority for the charging station.

Earlier, the MoEWRI had formulated the ‘operational guideline of electric vehicle and establishment of charging stations’, however, it is yet to be endorsed.

A version of this article appears in print on September 05, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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