Traffic management turns daunting as vehicles exceed 1.1 mil mark

KATHMANDU: Number of vehicles has exceeded 1.1 million in Kathmandu throwing traffic management out of gear in the Valley.

Traffic management has turned to be a daunting task due to inadequate traffic lights at thoroughfares and main roads and limited traffic human resource to manage traffic at the Kathmandu Metropolis, said senior traffic officials.

Basanta Kumar Pant, Senior Superintendant of Police (SSP) of Metropolitan Traffic Police Division said that traffic management has become more challenging as the federal capital city also has to sustain pressure of over two million vehicles registered in other 13 zones of the country.

According to the Traffic Division, roughly 3.23 million vehicles were registered across the country in the fiscal year 2017/18. Among them, more than 1.17 million automobiles were registered in Bagmati zone alone. Around 36.4 percent of the total registered vehicles across the country ply in Bagmati.

SSP Panta shared that around 97 percent of the vehicles registered in Bagmati zone are private. He added that traffic management has witnessed challenges as 90 percent of the vehicles registered in Bagmati ply on the Valley roads.

Among registered vehicles in Bagmati, more than 921,000 are motorbikes. Likewise, there are 48,242 registered bus and trucks, 13,553 power tillers and dozers, 142, 339 cars and jeeps and 6,330 tempo and microbus.

Durbarmarg Traffic Police Sector In-charge Daya Krishna Bhatta argued that effective coordination among the concerned agencies such as the NEA, Department of Roads and Department of Sewerage among others could also largely contribute towards smooth and effective traffic management despite the current insufficient numbers of traffic police in the Valley.

The Valley has 2014-KM of road (660 kilometers for one lane, 239 for two lanes and 193 for four lanes), according to Department of Roads statistics.

Lack of human resource is also making the matter worse. A traffic police is assigned to manage an average of 841 vehicles, which is far from practice, said SSP Panta. A total of 1,400 traffic police are managing approximately 1 million vehicles plying in the valley on a daily basis.

Moreover, roads in Kathmandu have many potholes and cracks in many areas, and lack enough sidewalks and sufficient overhead bridges for pedestrians. Likewise, lack of traffic lights adds to traffic management problems, while unmanaged footpath vendors create hassles.

Lack of parking lot spaces, managing garages and finding space for parking lots outside the Ring Road have also posed additional challenges.