Public vehicles allowed to run at full capacity


Public vehicles will be allowed to carry passengers at full capacity from now onward. The decision to this effect was taken in the Cabinet meeting held yesterday.

Though public vehicle operators have welcomed the decision, they lament that there are hardly any passengers even though the festive season is around the corner.

“Most people are not travelling as they are scared of contracting COVID. As a result, very few public vehicles are in operation.

Only 25 per cent vehicles have been operational on long-distance routes since the government allowed resumption of public transportation on September 17,” said Yogendra Karmacharya, president of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs.

“Passengers are neither going out of Kathmandu nor coming to the capital,” he said, adding, “It is a dire situation for public vehicle operators.”

Just a week back, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had issued Public Transport Operation Guidelines to regulate the public transportation sector during the pandemic.

Guidelines require transport entrepreneurs and companies to raise awareness about disinfecting seats of public vehicles every day and maintaining physical distance between passengers during the journey.

Each vehicle should have at least two thermal guns to measure body temperature of passengers and transport workers, passengers should be provided with hand sanitiser while boarding and there should be proper ventilation in the vehicle.

Contact number and address of each long-route and shortroute passenger should be submitted to the district administration.

Meanwhile, Karmacharya told THT that there was no need of advance booking for the festive season this year as there were few takers. Even though the Department of Transport Management expects around 600,000 passengers to travel out of the valley, Karmacharya said transporters had not received a single request for booking tickets.

“Since the number of people who want to travel is dismal we decided against opening advance booking,” he told THT.

Karmacharya added that only 200,000 passengers are likely to travel outside the valley this year, while two million passengers had left the valley during the festive season last year.

Regarding the government’s decision to allow public vehicles to carry passengers at full capacity, he said they were yet to be informed about it. “We have heard about it from informal sources.

We require a formal decision from the government to implement it,” Karmacharya said.

“The DoTM will send us directive once the government announces its decision publicly.”

DoTM itself is waiting for a formal letter from the government regarding its decision.