Kathmandu, September 28
After about a decade of closing service outside Kathmandu, Sajha Yatayat is all set to revive its long route service by October 2 this year.
Sajha Yatayat said it has already received the route permit to ply on long routes for four of its buses.
According to the organisation, four buses will run from Kathmandu to Gorkha and Baglung from October 2.
“As per our goal, we will begin long route services to two destinations outside of the valley on the occasion of the Dashain festival,” Acting Chief Executive Officer at Sajha Yatayat Mahendra Raj Pandeya told The Himalayan Times. “Other destinations will be added and we will increase the number of buses in future.”
Buses will make a Kathmandu-Gorkha-Kathmandu and Kathmandu-Baglung-Kathmandu circuit daily.
Sajha is preparing to set up counters in Kalanki and New Bus Park for bus tickets.
With 30 new advanced and disabled-friendly buses added to the roster a week ago on September 18, Sajha now has 46 buses altogether. However, the recently acquired 30 buses are yet to start operation. Four of these buses will be used to ply on long routes. “The remaining 26 buses will be operated in the Capital after Dashain after adding additional technology such as CCTV cameras and television, and receiving the permit from the concerned authority,” Pandeya said.
Sajha Yatayat purchased the 30 buses with help from Kathmandu Metropolitan City, which had invested a share of Rs 100 million to buy the buses from Mumbai, India.
The buses, that are greener than Sajha’s older buses built by TATA company and have two disabled-friendly seats each, were built by Mumbai-based Ashok Leyland limited and purchased at Rs 3.5 million each.
The new buses also have more than 40 bucket seats, wide standing spaces, CCTV camera supervision, and a television. Sajha Yatayat also plans to launch e-ticketing services and a Sajha Yatayat location tracker app very soon.
The KMC hopes that the buses will give respite to the general public compelled to travel in public vehicles packed above capacity and make commuting easier during rush hours.
Sajha Yatayat signed an agreement with India’s Ashok Leyland Limited on March 24 this year. Sajha claimed that each bus has a capacity of carrying more than 100 passengers at a time, including those standing on the aisle.
Currently, 16 Sajha buses have been plying on three different routes for the past three years. Sajha Yatayat’s immediate goals are to revive its operations in the Valley, increase public goodwill and visibility, and maximise sustainability, while developing a more profitably restructured entity as its medium and long-term goals.
Sajha Yatayat, a cooperative public transportation organisation, was established in 1961/62 to provide efficient and affordable public transportation to commuters in Kathmandu Valley and inter-district travellers. In the last decade, the organisation suffered some institutional turbulence, but has now been revived with help from the government.
A version of this article appears in print on September 29, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.