Nepal | July 13, 2020

Commuting on our narrow, potholed roads

PEOPLESPEAK

Himalayan News Service
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Be it on cycles, bikes, micro-buses or private vehicles, our readers want to travel safely and be on time

Kathmandu road crowd_Kathmandu pollution_Cartoon: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/ THT

Cartoon: Ratna Sagar Shrestha/ THT

Old fashioned that I am, walking is my preferred way to commute in Kathmandu. Unless the destination is more than 10 km, I always opt to walk instead of relying on those notoriously overcrowded and unreliable public buses, not to mention the rude conductors. Believe me, usually travelling in the inner city area during the day time is more time efficient if you walk. No traffic jams for those
who walk!

Nerinav

 As the population is growing, the number of vehicles is also increasing and roads are full of them. Buses, cars, taxis, bikes et cetera are running in huge numbers and making the roads congested. To cope with the current situation, I prefer using bikes to anything else. Bikes are easy to ride even in traffic jams and on crowded roads as bikes cover less area and can go fast making it the best choice for daily commute. In our country where the potholes in roads are more in number than days of a year, bikes provide you many options to go through as bikes use less area.
— Sheikh Azam, Birgunj

 In the present context of Nepal, our roads are congested and unmanaged, especially in crowded cities, which have been the cause for daily accidents. As a student, I use public vehicles to commute everyday because motorbikes and scooters crowd the roads too much. Plus for an eco-friendly environment, more emphasis should be given to public vehicles. Although getting used to public vehicles is quite difficult in the beginning, we must try it to save us and future generations.
— Deepa Adhikari, Baidam, Pokahara-6

 I own a two-wheeler licence for the last five years. The bumpy roads and potholes were major difficulties back then, but now it is the dust, which makes visibility beyond 10 metres difficult, while the slippery mud scares me. Slippery road is a nightmare for any two-wheeler rider and I don’t have to go far to experience it — the road in front of our main gate explains its slippery miseries where water tankers spill water due to which pedestrians are facing difficulties too and numerous accidents happen every day. I wouldn’t advise the best vehicle option as everybody has been managing on their own, but riding/driving in the correct lane can be much helpful.
— Shradha Neupane, Boudha, Mahankal

 Every day I have to go to school from Bhaktapur (Dekocha) to Changu. The distance between my house and school is six kilometres. Sometimes I walk or I use the public vehicle. To decrease air pollution and density of traffic, it is better to emphasise the use of public vehicles rather than private ones.
— Jaganath Sujakhu, Bhaktapur

 There are more than 400 accidents in a year in our country. The condition of the roads and transportation is not good here. So, I always ask my friends about the roads before I decide to visit somewhere — I am afraid of going on a long tour due to the bad condition of roads. The roads are not good and on top of that vehicles like buses, cars, cycles, bikes and taxis are on those narrow roads. Even the pedestrians use the same roads. These factors can cause more accidents but the Road Division Office seems least bothered about it. So, I don’t feel safe using any vehicle, even a bicycle, on such roads. I ride a bike for my daily commute but I don’t feel safe as there is always the risk of accidents on these roads. Moreover, we cannot get to our destinations on time due to traffic jams and congested roads. To mitigate the problem of traffic jams and lower risk of accidents, the government should build wider roads putting partitions for all kinds vehicles.
— Bishwo Raj Moktan, Hetaunda-Padampokhari-13

 People use various means of transport. The use of these vehicles by the increasing population has resulted in congested and damaged roads. Vehicles like bikes and cars including bigger vehicles like trucks are so many in number that they have played a major role in traffic jams and damaging the roads. Personally I prefer riding on big buses. But travelling in local buses is not safe enough as I have faced several problems. Sometimes I have to hang onto the bus door, sometimes I miss my bus when it doesn’t halt at the stop due to overcrowding. Due to these reasons, some people tend to choose private vehicles over public which results in overcrowded and congested roads.
— Anonymous

 I would always choose my own car among all vehicles which has been in my service for quite a long time. I feel easy to commute in it within the Valley. I know that walking is the best exercise for the body, but I have become habituated to my car. I also take buses, tempos, micros as well as taxis whenever I don’t have any other choice. Besides I also love riding bikes, provided it’s safe. Still travelling in my own car makes me pleased and it’s much safer than travelling on bikes.
— Pratik Shestha,
Buddhanagar, Baneshwor

 It is impossible to choose only one option because there are so many people involved in various professions. Instead of choosing one option I would like to suggest the government to bring new policies related to traffic rules and construct a two-way road which will help to eliminate different problems like traffic jams and accidents as well as make citizens aware of traffic rules.
— Anonymous

 Public transportation has been a consistent challenge in developing countries across South Asia including Nepal due to heavy population, poor road infrastructure, less number of available vehicles as well as serious air pollution. Hence, the best option where people can afford it is the extensive use of environmental friendly and green transport like bicycles. Several European, African and Latin American nations have been actively promoting and encouraging the use of bicycles to reduce traffic congestion, heavy pressure on public transportation and to cut down the level of air pollution. Furthermore, bicycles are an affordable mode of transportation. I strongly support the initiative of encouraging more use of bicycles in Nepal and other heavily populated South Asian nations. Bicycle lanes can be constructed along major highways to secure safe transport of the bikers. It could have significant impact on the pollution front too in addition to solving over congestion in public transport facilities. The government could even think about providing a subsidy for any new bicycle bought by the poorer section of society to facilitate the use of environment friendly transportation.
— Saikat Kumar Basu

 I use bike to commute. I think it is the best option because I can travel easily, freely and can reach my destination on time and complete my task. Once when a snake bit one boy in Pattharkot, Sarlahi, I took him to the hospital on my bike because there was no access to other vehicles. If we had been late for treatment, he could have lost his life. So if you drive confidently and carefully, then you can ride on congested and not-so-well maintained roads where four wheels can’t go. If you stand at the bus park to commute to the exam centre in the morning, you won’t get bus on time and if you get one, it is over-crowded with passengers, and while stopping at one station and another, you will be late for your exam. Thus I prefer bike. Also park in the right parking area, it won’t create problems for others especially students, women and physically-challenged people et cetera.
— Bibas Jung Thapa, Hetaunda

 I spend two hours a day in a public bus. My destination is not too
far — it’s from airport to Maitighar
(Thapathali College). It should take less than half an hour, but passengers like me have to spend almost an hour to reach the destination. And
if you are travelling between
9:00-11:00 am, then don’t expect to get a seat; only hope that the bus will come on time and that you get a space to stand and hang in the bus. I face this problem almost every day. Whether I want it or not, I have to use the local bus daily because it’s the only option for me.
— Binod Shrestha, Tilganga

 Every morning I have to go to Bagbazar from New Baneshwor for my CA classes. Bus is the only convenient option available. Within five to seven minutes I reach the destination as there is less to zero traffic early in the morning. After my classes are over at 2:30 pm, I again commute on a bus from Bhaktapur Bus Stand to New Baneshwor. But while returning I have to suffer huge traffic jams which seems to be the perennial problem for the denizens of the Capital city. Seeing the number of vehicles plying on the roads, I wonder how the future of road transport will look like in our country. I have the greatest respect for Traffic Police as their ability and effort to manage the many vehicles moving in every possible direction is praiseworthy. Sometimes I wish I had my own bike. I would also love to commute in a taxi which is relatively more time-saving. But my budget doesn’t support it. Congestion and ill management often get on my nerves.
— Pratik Pokhrel

 I commute daily from Jorpati
to Kalanki — I have to be there at 10:00 am for which I have to leave at 7:30 am. Sometimes it even creates a problem because my parents always think that I might be spending time randomly as the distance is not as much as the time it takes. Sometimes I am late for exams due to traffic jam. Whether the transport is private or public, one has to suffer and both are equally responsible. The major fault is not the number of
vehicles but the narrow roads
which compel public to use all the possible route to be on time anywhere. Still bikes and scooters can be the most appropriate alternatives to commute daily according to my own experience.
— Anonymous

 The government needs to promote micro-bus for short routes and narrow roads, and big buses for longer routes and wider roads. Small vehicles are not a nuisance. Small vehicles such as tuk-tuk are seen driven in busy cities like Bangkok. Micro-buses can ply within the Ring Road during office hours. Big buses should be allowed on Ring Road
and outside.
— Basan Shrestha, Ghattekulo Marg

 I ride a bicycle to reach my destination. I prefer cycles in our congested and not-so-well maintained paths. In my opinion, cycle is the best option in comparison to two-wheelers and four-wheelers because as we know it is a pollution-free means of transportation.
— Kushal Bastakoti, Kathmandu

 Public vehicles might be the answer in the context of Nepal. Many more people can travel at a time in a public vehicle. When there is more availability of public vehicles, people might make it their first preference. And the use of the private transport might reduce.
— Prakriti Ghimire, Masbar, Pokhara-7
 We can see a single man riding a car which has the capacity to hold four people, while a bus can carry
30 passengers. So if one public bus
is added and, 30 cars replaced,
traffic jams could be reduced. But the public transport should be made systematic and regular. People would surely be attracted to
public vehicles.
— Sudip Bhandari, Pokhara

 I prefer using micro-buses (public buses) because many passengers can travel at the same time due to which the number of vehicles on the roads will decrease which will reduce many traffic problems. Using public vehicles instead of private cars and bikes decreases heavy traffic jams and air pollution. Public vehicles are cheaper. There will be less amount of fuel use which also directly results in environment conservation. Hence use of public vehicles is more suitable and effective in the congested roads of Nepal.
— Pratima Gurung, Pokhara

 I think the best option would be the use of public vehicles like microbuses. I use the same. Being smaller, it can manage to pass through the narrower and bumpy roads. Unlike motorbikes and cars, it can carry more number of people at a time and it can also cover larger distance in a short time which makes it
quite economic.
— Suvechha Dahal, Malepatan-5,Pokhara

 I prefer bike to other vehicles. Firstly, bike being small in size can go easily on a small and narrow path. In the busy roads of Pokhara it’s rare for big vehicles to escape traffic jams but it’s different for bikes. We can ride between vehicles on those busy roads. Bikes are easy to park. In our country roads are not managed properly, big vehicles face problems when any construction or maintenance work is being done on roads. For an example, if a big water pipe is being fitted, then there is less chance that big vehicles like a bus can pass through. But there is a small path over which a bike can pass.
— Nayan Thapa Magar, Pokhara


QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Flowers, chocolate, cards, candlelit dinners, and other romantic gestures — all these things have become an important part of Valentine’s Day for most couples. These gestures (any time) reflect that your lover/beloved cares for you. Yet sometimes they are so formulaic and corny that their affection turns out to be an embarrassment for you. How often have you faced such a situation? Or have you ever embarrassed anyone with such romantic gestures? Share one such instance from your life and illustrate how you dealt with it.

­Send your replies in not more than 200 words by Friday, February 10 by 2:00 pm to Features, The Himalayan Times, e-mail: features@thehimalayantimes.com


A version of this article appears in print on February 05, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.


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