Pre-booking of Dashain bus tickets in limbo

Kathmandu, August 26

The date when pre-booking of bus tickets will be opened, for those who will be travelling back to their hometowns for Dashain, is still undecided. Continuous dispute between government authorities and transport entrepreneurs on issues related to the road condition and refusal by bus owners to remove the top carriage from their vehicles have been creating hurdles in finalising the pre-booking opening date.

The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) and Federation of Nepalese National Transportation Entrepreneurs (FNNTE) have set first meeting for Sunday to finalise early ticket booking opening date.

In the past few years, DoTM and FNNTE jointly set the pre-booking opening date around four weeks before Ghatasthapana, the first day of Dashain. However, there are only 26 days remaining for Ghatasthapana and the authority and entrepreneurs are still undecided about finalising the date to open bookings.

According to Dolnath Khanal, officiating chairman of FNNTE, a meeting with DoTM will be held tomorrow to finalise the issue related to opening the pre-booking of bus tickets. “Traffic police have directed us to remove the top carriage from our vehicles. But if we comply, how are the passengers going to transport their goods?” he questioned. “This issue must be clarified before we open the ticket booking.”

Traffic police have directed transport entrepreneurs to remove carriages attached to the top of passenger vehicles since last year, which has created a dispute between entrepreneurs and government authorities.

Moreover, due to poor condition of major highways across the country due to landslides and floods triggered by heavy monsoon rain in the last two weeks, entrepreneurs are not very excited about opening the pre-booking of tickets, Khanal said.

Transport entrepreneurs are also raising the issue of road maintenance in the Thankot-Kalanki and Mugling-Narayangadh sections. Both road sections have been under maintenance since more than two years and will not be completed by this Dashain too.

According to the Department of Roads (DoR), around 30 bridges along the major highways across the country have been damaged by the recent natural calamity. Floods and landslides have highly affected multiple sections of Mahendra Highway, Dharan-Bhedetar road section of Dharan-Dhankuta road and Mugling-Narayangadh road section, which will affect vehicular movement during the festive season.

Normally, two to three million people leave the Kathmandu Valley for their hometowns in Dashain. Moreover, if short distances too are included, then approximately 10 million travel via medium- and short-distance vehicles.