Few transporters abiding by new fares:95 pc caught during monitoring found not implementing new rates
Kathmandu, March 17:
Though the government last week announced new ‘scientific’ fares to discourage transport entrepreneurs from fleecing the public, around 95 per cent of the vehicles are not implementing the new fares.
Following the announcement of the new rates, the government has assigned a team of six officers — a transport management supervisor (TMS), a traffic policeman, three policemen and a section officer — to monitor the public transport vehicles.
Deepak Devkota, a TMS, said they had caught more than 70 vehicles, for not complying with the new fares, within the past five days. “On the direction of Transport Minister, we caught 30 vehicles at Nagdhunga checkpoint today alone.
They were charging the old fares despite the enforcement of new ‘scientific’ fares from March 5,” Devkota told this daily today. He also said the inspection team had found that only five per cent public vehicles were following the new fares, while others were charging passengers the earlier fares.
Meanwhile, microbus drivers today halted traffic at Pulchowk this morning, protesting the arrest of a driver and his assistant yesterday. The duo had misbehaved with the inspection officers while they were on duty, according to Devkota. “The rising state of impunity in the country is the main reason behind the transport entrepreneurs’ refusal to abide by the new fare structure,” he added.
He also urged the public to fight for their rights and complain the officers against the vehicles which are not abiding by the new fare structure and charging them exorbitant fares.
The Department of Transport Management has been imposing a fine of Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 on public vehicles, which are found to not follow the new fare structure. The government has reduced the minimum fare (less than 3 km) for short routes from Rs 12 to 9 in Kathmandu Valley. It has fixed Rs 10 for 4 km, Rs 11 for 7 km, Rs 12 for 9 km, Rs 13 for 12 km, Rs 14 for 15 km and Rs 16 for 20 km and Rs 18 for 25 km.
In the Tarai, the government has fixed a fare of Rs 1.18 per km for long route (more than 250 km) and Rs 1.25 for medium route (25-250 km). It has fixed a fare of Rs 1.6 km for both long and medium routes in the hilly districts. Likewise, the government has fixed a fare of Rs 1.33 per km in accessible areas like Pokhara and Narayangarh.
Devkota said the new fare structure could be fully implemented if the inspection team continued its monitoring. He also asked the government to increase the number of inspectors, so that they will be able to carry out their work more efficiently. He said the team had been randomly monitoring vehicles at different places every day.
Meanwhile, addressing a programme here today, Transport Minister Lekh Raj Bhatta said they were strictly monitoring the implementation of new fare structure to provide relief to the people.