No luxury in luxurious Mahanagar Yatayat

Kathmandu, May 2

Just one-and-a-half month ago, Mahanagar Yatayat unveiled 39 luxurious buses to ply on the ringroad of Kathmandu Valley.

That event had come as a big respite for valley denizens who had to rely on often public transportation daily.

Luxurious buses were equipped with TV, station broadcasting system, location system tracker GPS and Wifi.

But just within one-and-a-half month of Mahanagar Yatayat’s operation none of the facilities remain. There’s no TV, no station broadcasting system, no location system tracker GPS and no WiFi as well.

The first attraction of the Mahanagar Yatayat bus was the station broadcasting system, which used to show the current station and upcoming station with a lady’s voice announcing it.

Mahanagar Yatayat Pvt Ltd, Vice-chairman Santosh Khatiwada admitted failure of the operation citing system and equipment failure. “Due to system and equipment failure, currently there is no facility in the buses,” he said, adding, “New system installation and upgrading is in progress.

This could take up to two more weeks to complete.” He claimed that the company is committed to fulfilling its promises.

According to Khatiwada, 12 TV monitors exploded due to mismanaged voltage transfer and

vibration. The same problem hit the station broadcasting GPS tracking app through which people could check the location of the nearest bus. Now, this is also defunct.

Similarly, the station broadcasting system and cassette player of buses also have not been used properly.

At the same time, the gap in cooperation with Nepal Telecom has resulted in 50 per cent of the buses plying without WiFi. Very few buses have the station broadcasting system with announcement.

‘New equipment and damaged system replacement has led to a loss of Rs 1.2 million,’ Khatiwada added.

The company launched luxurious buses on March 13, 2016 with an investment of approximately Rs 160 million.

Infrastructure policy expert Surya Raj Acharya has taken this failure as failure of the company’s smart idea implementation.

“Inability to deliver committed hi-tech and luxurious facilities to captive passengers within one-and-a-half month of the launch is complete ill-preparedness on the part of the company,” Acharya told The Himalayan Times.

“This shows that the company has failed to operate its smart idea.” He said if this carelessness continues then a few months later Mahanagar luxurious buses will become the same as other unmanaged public transport.

With the hi-tech and luxurious facility disturbed, Mahanagar Yatayat has another problem: it is without any fixed station.

This has given rise to the problem of stopping buses wherever passengers signal it to stop.

The company has blamed Kathmandu Metropolitan City for not fixing the station for Mahanagar Yatayat even after one-and-a-half month of its operation.

In response, KMC Spokesperson Gyanendra Karki said fixing the station is not the responsibility of KMC.

“KMC only deals with the issue of whether or not the general public availed of the facility to travel in a public vehicle,” he said.