Kathmandu Metropolitan City's decision to remove the bus park from Khula Manch came into effect today with no vehicles allowed to enter the historic open space.

Kathmandu locals, right activists and stakeholders had long been demanding that the bus park be removed from Khula Manch and the open space be cleared. KMC had started ground work to remove physical infrastructure related to the bus park from Khula Manch a few months ago.

Today, after the government decision to allow public vehicles with at least 25-seat capacity to ply the road, a few vehicles were trying to enter the bus park, but were stopped outside.

Likewise, authorities have also decided to remove all bus stops from Khula Manch area. Now, public vehicles have to follow pick-and-drive rule around Khula Manch area.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Dhanapati Sapkota of City Police under KMC said that public vehicle operators had agreed to abide by the rule with some reservations. Public vehicles that are operating on alternate days on odd-even basis have complained that the rule will affect them as they will not be able to take passengers as per the seat capacity.

Bijendra Shrestha, a driver of a public vehicle that operates from Ratna Park to Bhaktapur, said they used to get more than half of their passengers from Khula Manch area alone. "But, with the new rule in place, they will have to operate vehicles at half capacity, which will directly affect income," he added.

KMC, however, is committed to imposing the rule stating that they cannot allow public vehicles to stop for a long time in the core of the city.

"The rule has already come into effect and we will make sure it is implemented effectively," said KMC.

Talks are under way to relocate the Khula Manch bus park to Sallahari, Bhaktapur.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 30 2021, of The Himalayan Times.