Nepal | August 04, 2020

People face hardship with public transport off the road

Rastriya Samachar Samiti
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Kathmandu, July 6

Mahesh Shrestha who lives in Harisiddhi, Lalitpur is finding it hard to travel to and from his shop at Mangalbazaar these days.

Most of the time he walks to Mangalbazaar which is five kilometres from his home. Only sometimes and if he is lucky he gets a lift from motorcycle and vehicle drivers. Many do not stop their vehicle when he signals for fear of COVID-19.

Shrestha said his shop, like most other enterprises and businesses in town, remained closed for a long time due to the lockdown announced by the government for prevention and control of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, the lockdown has been relaxed to some extent and Shrestha has no option but to open his shop for livelihood support.

For him, a native of Harisiddhhi, the need to own a vehicle had never been felt before. He had not felt this need during normal time as travelling to and from his shop was not that difficult as adequate number of public transport vehicles operated.
In this connection, he recalls his experience five years back when there was a blockade in the country.

The undeclared blockade was imposed by India and there was shortage of essentials and fuel. That time also there were no public vehicles due to fuel shortage.

But people used to give a lift to the needy.

But, Shrestha said, the situation is not like that at present. People are very reluctant to offer a lift and share a ride for fear of COV- ID-19. So, Shrestha has to walk most often to his shop and back home.

Like Mahesh, Anjana Subedi of Jorpati, has the same problem. Subedi works at a private firm in Anamnagar. She used to take the public Tuk-tuk to go to her office and come back home from there.

These days she goes to her office with her husband on motorcycle. However, while returning home after office, she walks up to her husband’s office at Chabahil and both return home together on motorbike.

“I have to go to office anyhow although it is difficult as there is no public transport.

If I do not, my salary will be deducted,” she expressed desperation. She said that she was not paid three months’ salary since the lockdown started. The government had announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24.

Most of the shops and offices in Kathmandu Valley have opened with relaxation of the lockdown.

However, people are facing a lot of hardship commuting to their work place and other destinations such as hospitals as public transport vehicles are not operating fully.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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