EDITORIAL: Risky travelling

The government should make the necessary arrangements whereby people can go home safely during festivities as time is running short

This year there is a delay in booking bus tickets. Generally, bus ticket counters are opened at least one month ahead of Dashain festival. Revelers want to go to their ancestral homes for this festival.

It is seen that almost half of the population in the capital city leave it and they mostly do so by road. Considering that a huge number of passengers would be commuting the number of bus seats presently available are not adequate for all of those who wish to reach home.

As Dashain is only about three weeks away a lot of people want to book tickets well in advance. So far, passengers wishing to buy the tickets have to return empty handed as the bus booking counters are not open, and no one knows when the bookings will start.

Moreover, it is the usual practice in this country for the transporters to charge more than the actual fare taking advantage of the scarcity of bus seats during festivities.

This can be attributed largely to the syndicate system that is in force. More buses are not allowed to operate on certain routes.

The concerned seem to be the least bothered about the plight of those who wish to go home. Because of this many passengers commute dangerously even on the roof of the buses.

Although, the buses are not supposed to ferry more passengers than their carrying capacity the traffic police look the other way and allow people to travel in a risky manner.

What everyone should realize is that safety comes first and the buses should not be overcrowded as is the case even during normal times. Therefore, it is necessary to arrange for additional buses during the festivities.

Due to the syndicate system in force doing so would invite the wrath of the transporters who are only after making more money. As a result, the hapless commuters can do little about it when the government should add more buses so that they can travel without endangering themselves.

The transporters may have a point when they insist that most of the roads are in dire need of repairs. Landslides in the highways are commonplace.

Even the major highways are in a poor condition and the rural roads for the most part are not blacktopped adding to the hazards of travelling by road.

Most people cannot afford the expensive air fare which is relatively safer than travelling by road.

Boulders block the roads; buses and other transports are stuck up causing inconvenience to the passengers who are often compelled to spend the night in the open.

The obstruction of traffic lasts for hours and sometimes even days even on the major highways. Therefore, the roads must be built to last. The contractors who build the roads defying safety norms should be punished.

The roads should also be repaired regularly and well maintained. Many road accidents take place due to drivers’ negligence. The government should make the necessary arrangements whereby people can go home safely during festivities as time is running short.

We should learn from past experiences and do something about it.

Driving licence

A person who wants to obtain driving licence of a heavy motor vehicle should be 25 years of age.

Earlier, the age limit for obtaining licence for trucks and buses had been set 21 and 18 years, respectively. When it comes to obtaining a licence for light motor vehicle s/he should attain the age of 21 and 18 for motorbike/scooters.

A bill has been tabled in Parliament to make the third amendment to the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act, 1993.

New age limit for heavy, light and motorcycle/scooter have been proposed keeping in mind that more than 25 percent of deaths due to road accidents involve drivers between 16 to 25 years.

Police have said that young drivers are three times more at risk of road accidents than those who are above 25 years of age. Studies have shown that the country witnesses as many as 27 road accidents and five deaths every day.

Over speeding, careless driving, overtaking, drunk-driving, carrying passengers beyond the vehicle’s capacity, technical breakdown and carelessness of the passengers and pedestrians are the major causes of road accidents.

Above all, drivers are mainly responsible for the road accidents. The new proposal for obtaining driving licence is a welcome step.