Transport entrepreneurs taking Dashain passengers for a ride

Kathmandu, September 23

Advance booking of bus tickets for Dashain, which opened today, has kicked up a row on the first day.

It has been found that transport entrepreneurs themselves are booking tickets in the name of transport associations so as to later distribute them to their near and dear ones.

A monitoring team of consumer rights activists, which reached Gongabu Bus Park this afternoon, found that transport entrepreneurs had booked eight tickets each in the name of Paschimanchal Yatayat Byawasai Samiti and Rapti Yatayat Byawasai Sangh.

“When inquired, representatives of these associations said the tickets were meant for differently-abled people,” Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumers’ Right Investigation Forum and a member of the inspection team, told The Himalayan Times.

He said the reasoning did not hold much water, however, as the entrepreneurs did not need to book the tickets in the name of transport associations if they were really meant for physically challenged people.

According to Timalsina, this is only one of the many ways in which transport entrepreneurs cheat the general public.

The scene at Gongabu Bus Park was quite chaotic when this correspondent reached there this afternoon and those queuing up to book their tickets had nothing but complaints against transport entrepreneurs.

“Those having personal ties with the transport entrepreneurs don’t even have to stand in line,” said Samikshya Acharya, a student, who had been standing in queue for a couple of hours to book her tickets to go to Dhangadi, her hometown, for Dashain.

Acharya condemned the government authorities for not controlling such anomalies. She said the responsible agencies had become mere spectators while the general public bore the brunt.

Acharya’s allegations may not be too off the mark, as a government official deployed to monitor the advance booking of tickets at Gongabu Bus Park today chose to turn a blind eye towards the irregularities taking place in broad daylight.

“I came to monitor alone today because my seniors were absent due to various reasons. A team led by our director shall carry out intensive monitoring in the next few days,” said Arjun Dhital, section officer at Department of Transport Management, the government body responsible for dealing with transportation issues.

The umbrella organisation of transport entrepreneurs, meanwhile, simply refused to acknowledge occurrence of any anomaly.

“We are committed to controlling such ill-practices from our side and we have been doing the same,” asserted Dolnath Khanal, president of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association.