Public vehicles fleecing passengers

Kathmandu, October 26:

Long-route buses and microbuses are charging exorbitant fares from passengers due to lack of a monitoring mechanishm.

Even the Sajha Yatayat, the state-owned transport body, is charging more than the fares fixed by the Department of Transport Management (DoTM), notwithstanding its claim that it has been providing transport services at affordable rates.

The DoTM has fixed Rs 194 as fare for the minibuses plying the 202-km Kathmandu-Pokhara route, but buses and minibuses make each passenger pay as much as Rs 300. Buses plying the route charge Rs 240 per passenger.

Director of the DoTM, Sharad Adhikary, said microbuses are allowed to collect 15 per cent more than the fare fixed by the DoTM, but they charge Rs 350, which is about 80 per cent more than the government-fixed fare. The microbuses had collected Rs 375 from each passenger travelling on the route during Dashain. Even the microbuses running under the logo of Sajha Yatayat charge Rs 325 for Pokhara.

Traffic chief of the Sajha Yatayat, Chandra Prasad Dhakal, said microbus entrepreneurs have fixed fares on their own because fares have not yet been fixed at the policy level. Dhakal said fares fixed by the Sajha Yatayat were 25 per cent less than the ones fixed by owners of private buses.

Adhikary conceded the transport entrepreneurs are charging excessive amount because the government has failed to monitor the fares. “Chief district officers have been authorised to control the fares, but none of them are monitoring the fares may be because they have not received any complaint,” he said.

The government had increased the transportation fares for long routes by 25 per cent and short routes by 28 per cent with effect from February 22, 2006. However, the entrepreneurs are charging far more than the fixed rates. Chief of the Bagmati zonal office of the DoTM Laxmi Dhakal said the government has not monitored the fares. “The government should mobilise transport inspectors to monitor such irregularities.”

Routes DoTM rates Sajha fares

Kathmandu-Baglung 245 250 (for buses)

Kathmandu-Palpa 257 265 (for buses)

Kathmandu-Taulihawa 272 285 (for buses)

Routes DoTM rates Sajha fares

Kathmandu-Pokhara 223 325 (for microbuses)

Kathmandu-Bhairahawa 269 460 (for microbuses)