Trolley bus service faces bleak future

Kathmandu, March 19:

The government decision to remove all the trolley bus electricity poles along the Koteswor-Suryabinayak section of the Araniko Highway, to widen the road, has virtually brought an end to the service of the electric vehicles.

The meeting of the representatives of concerned ministries, Department of Road and the KMC held here recently decided to remove the poles to allow widening of the road.

Some 15 days ago a minister-level meeting, held under the chairmanship of State Minister of Labour and Transport Ramesh Lekhak, had decided to allow the ministries concerned, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Local Development and the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, to make a common decision over the removal of poles.

“The meeting has also decided to inform the government of China, which had donated the trolley buses some three decades ago, about the recent move,” said Dinesh Thapaliya, chief executive officer of KMC, adding: “There is no future for the trolley bus service after removal of poles because relocation of the poles seem impossible and the service cannot sustain by just plying the present 3-km Tripureshwor-Koteshwor route.”

The DoR is widening the Koteswor-Suryabinayak section of the Araniko Highway from the existing two-lane to four-lane and the poles must be removed for the purpose and the three municipalities which are operating the trolley bus service — the KMC, the Madhyapur Thimi and the Bhaktapur municipalities — are not in a condition to bear financial burden of relocating the poles.

Thapaliya said: “There is no logic in incurring losses and operating trolley buses from Tripureswor to Koteswor only and the two other municipalities have stopped contributing money for management of trolley buses because the buses do not ply there.”

“Some 295,000 fossil-fuel powered vehicles ply in the Valley and what can people expect from merely three trolley buses.”