Traffic haywire as road permits cross all limits

KATHMANDU: The Department of Transport Management Office (DTMO) is issuing road permits to public buses without considering the road capacity.

Travelling by public busses in the Valley has already been a horrid experience for many. This is compounded by recurrent road accidents largely due to reckless driving.

Not only the commuters but also the pedestrians, motorists and the traffic police personnel on duty have been facing narrow escape time and again. Notwithstanding such a messy situation, DTMO is issuing road permits to unlimited number of public buses, officials at Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), said.

When asked, an official at the DTMO said, “If we do not release the permits, the entrepreneurs would gang up against us".

This scribe today talked with the MTPD officials, traffic police personnel on duty, a pedestrian, a driver and Section Officer Hom Nath Khatiwada of the DTMO.

Traffic police said 95 per cent of the public buses ply without their vehicle documents. “They just have the chits given by the traffic personnel for violating rules of the roads", said Bikram Thakur, a traffic police personnel. "Nepal Yatayat and Swayambhu Yatayat are the two big threats for the road,” he added.

The buses of the two companies have been found violating traffic rules on daily basis.

Thakur mentioned that seven pedestrians were injured in three accidents this week alone. While in 40 accidents last month, 4 were killed and 36 maimed.

Hari Bhakta used to travel in public buses, but not anymore. He complains, "These Yatayat buses are the worst transport in the Valley.” “They carry truckloads of passengers and drive like racing cars. One bus competes with another while they drop the passengers recklessly,” he adds.

“The very thought that the bus might flip, scares us to death," Bharat Katawal, a taxi driver yells. "These buses stop anywhere and create traffic snarl. However, the view of DOTM Section Officer Hom Nath Khatiwada was different from the rest of the respondents. He said, "We know for certain how recklessly they drive. But they too have to work and feed their family. Traffic should be responsible for it not the DOTM.”

“These buses are here, after paying hefty sum as road permits. We just cannot stop them from plying on the roads," he added.