Kathmandu, September 9
A joint meeting of Department of Transport Management (DoTM), transporters and consumer rights activists today decided to slash the public transport fare. They have agreed to cut the fare by 2.22 per cent, taking into account the recent decline in fuel price.
The review in the transport fare before the festive season is expected to provide some respite to the passengers including those who will be leaving the Capital to celebrate the festivals with their family members in different parts of the country. DoTM said that it would send a proposal to reduce the public transport and cargo carriers charge to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport (MoPIT) for approval on Thursday.
“After the discussion, an agreement has been reached to slash public transport fare by 2.22 per cent and taxi charge by 1.63 per cent,” said Chandra Man Shrestha, director general of DoTM. He added that the fare of cargo carriers on the Tarai route will come down by 3.24 per cent and 3.1 per cent in hilly route — Kathmandu-Narayanghat-Pokhara.
If MoPIT approves it on Thursday, new revised fare will probably be implemented from Friday, as per Shrestha. Based on proposed 2.22 per cent change in fare, the fare for Kathmandu-Biratnagar route will come down to Rs 973 from existing Rs 995, while travelling from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj will cost Rs 956, down from Rs 978. Similarly, the fare for Kathmandu-Pokhara route will decline to Rs 399 from the existing Rs 408.
The last time that DoTM had revised the transport fare was in February when diesel price was Rs 86.50 per litre and petrol was Rs 109 per litre. With recent reduction in fuel prices by Nepal Oil Corporation, diesel costs Rs 80 per litre and petrol Rs 104 per litre. Even though a decision has been reached to cut the transport fare based on fuel price, there will be no change in the fare of Rs 13 for the shortest ride.
In February, the government had fixed fare of Rs 13 for shortest ride. However, it could not be implemented due to objection from transporters and lack of monitoring from DoTM. While fixing the fare by keeping other components contributing to fare fixing mechanism the same, DoTM’s calculation in February had showed that fare for shortest ride should be Rs 13.72.
However, government had fixed fare at Rs 13 with a target to make transport cheaper for passengers. But transporters had decided to collect Rs 14 from passengers in round figure. Going against government decision and transporters’ own declaration, public vehicles for long have been collecting Rs 15 from passengers.
As per DoTM, 2.22 per cent reduction in Rs 13.72 means the fare would come down to Rs 13.42, so transporters would be asked not to charge more than Rs 13 in round figure for shortest ride of up to 4 km.
A version of this article appears in print on September 10, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.