Nepal | July 14, 2020

Resumption of public transport on cards

Social distancing, disinfecting vehicles and wearing of masks to be made mandatory

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, June 8

With the government preparing to ease the lockdown, the Department of Transport Management has started drafting guidelines to allow public vehicles to start operation.

The department has started consultation with stakeholders on allowing public transportation, which has been completely halted since the government imposed the nationwide lockdown on March 24, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“As the government is preparing to ease the lockdown to give momentum to economic activities, resumption of public transportation is inevitable. We are working on an effective modality to allow public transportation services to resume,” said Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general at DoTM.

According to him, the guidelines will focus on ways to prevent the spread of coronavirus while commuting on public vehicles, including necessary distance to be maintained between passengers and mode of fare payment.

“While social distancing, wearing of masks and disinfecting vehicles will be made mandatory, digital payment of fare will be promoted,” added Hamal.

Sources in the department said effectiveness of operating public vehicles on odd-even basis was also being dwelt on.

The government is also likely to only allow large public vehicles to ply initially as necessary social distancing cannot be maintained in small vehicles.

“As the government is preparing to resume offices, businesses and industries, we are under pressure to resume public transportation service,” said Hamal.

He added that the plan was to allow public transportation to operate only within districts in the initial phase.

He added that the High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COV- ID-19 led by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel was also mulling over resumption of public transportation services. He said the government should ensure protective gear for drivers and conductors of vehicles as they are at high risk of contracting disease while transporting passengers.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 9, 2020, of The Himalayan Time

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