Pre-booking of bus tickets for Dashain festival yet to start

Kathmandu, September 15

Those planning to return to their hometowns and villages for the Dashain festival may have a harder time getting their hands on bus tickets this year, as the transport entrepreneurs and the government are yet to come to an agreement on opening date for advance bus ticket booking.

A recent meeting between the Department of Transport Management and transport entrepreneurs to fix the fare and opening date for advance bus ticket booking ended inconclusively as the former asked the construction works in the Narayangadh-Mugling road section be halted for smooth vehicular movement.

Due to expansion works being carried out in the road section, vehicles entering and leaving Kathmandu Valley are required to take turns because only one-way traffic is allowed at certain times.

“Without a guarantee of two-way traffic flow on this road section, transport entrepreneurs cannot open advance booking because it would be difficult to calculate the travel time for the vehicles,” said Punya Prasad Sitaula, general secretary of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association (FNNTEA), the umbrella body of transport entrepreneurs across the country.

DoTM, on the other hand, is hesitant to comply with the request of transport entrepreneurs saying the government would have to compensate the contractor of the project for the delay.

DoTM officials informed that they are now seeking permission from the Ministry of Physical and Transport to halt the construction works in the Narayangadh-Mugling road section. A meeting to settle the matter will soon be held among ministry officials, contractor of the road section, traffic police and DoTM, a source added.

DoTM and FNNTEA are scheduled to meet again on Sunday to finalise the issue of pre-booking, as the Dashain festival is starting in a little over two weeks. Generally, ticket reservation starts 20 to 30 days before the start of the Dashain festival. Road transport plays a vital role during the festival time as around 50 per cent of the population in Kathmandu Valley head for different parts of the country to celebrate the occasion.

“It would be difficult for the government to regulate rampant sales of bus tickets at exorbitant fares if it further delays in making a decision,” said Prem Lal Maharjan, chairman of National Consumer Forum.

For their part, transport entrepreneurs have also demanded that the government carry out maintenance works of rural roads that were damaged during the monsoon.

“Everybody blames the transport entrepreneurs for road mishaps, while nobody is willing to address the issue of the bad condition of the roads,” Sitaula said.