KATHMANDU, OCTOBER 6 The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has issued the Public Transport Operation Guideline-2020 to regulate the public transportation sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guideline aims to minimise the risk of passengers, transport entrepreneurs and workers being infected with coronavirus disease while delivering their duties and responsibilities. The guideline requires transport entrepreneurs and companies to raise awareness on disinfecting the seats of public vehicles every day and maintaining physical distance between the passengers during the travel. A vehicle is required to possess at least two thermal guns to measure the body temperature of passengers and transport workers, provide hand sanitiser for passengers and ensure proper ventilation inside the vehicle. A list of details of long-route and short-route passengers should be prepared and submitted to the local administration of the destination district. The guideline urges people not to travel unless it is urgent. “If there is no option other than to travel by public vehicle, the passengers should comply with health precautionary measures such as wearing face-masks and avoiding eating at the bus terminal and bus stop,” it reads. The guideline has designated the Department of Transport Management and traffic police to monitor the implementation aspect of the provisions. “Anyone who violates the guideline will be liable to action under the Infectious Disease Act, Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act and Local Administration Act,” it warns. It ensures PRC test of drivers and helpers of public vehicles free of charge if any of them exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19. As per the guideline, a public vehicle shall carry passengers not exceeding 50 per cent of its seat capacity. It requires transport entrepreneurs and workers to allocate one seat per passenger to maintain social and physical distancing. In the case of taxis, they may ferry maximum two persons along with a child, up to five years of age. There should also be proper arrangement of hand sanitiser at the door and inside the public transport. In addition, the driver and helper should wear face masks, visors and globes, besides disinfecting the vehicle on a daily basis. The public vehicles except taxis are permitted to charge additional 50 per cent of the prescribed fare until the prevalence of this provision.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on October 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.