For the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) running the three trolley buses on Koteshwor-Tripureshwor route is akin to maintaining a white elephant. The KMC is incurring a phenomenal loss. As of last year, for example, the Trolley Bus Service (TBS) generated a revenue of about Rs. 23 lakh while around Rs. 34 lakh was spent on its operation. Given the loss, the TBS’ Joint Management Committee has warned the government to either grant them Rs. 9 crore it says it sorely needs to sustain the service or hand over the management to private companies. If the government does not come to its rescue, the KMC is even ready to transfer the TBS to the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management.
The Trolley Bus Service, undoubtedly, offers a clean, environment-friendly (in terms of both noise and air pollution) and reliable mode of transportation. Moreover, it saves petrol or diesel, as it runs on electricity for which Nepal’s water resources have huge potentials. However, mismanagement, overstaffing and corruption are to be blamed for the pathetic state of the service. The problem with the state-operated trolley bus service, as with the Sajha Yatayat, has been that its successive management teams always operated it at a loss, despite dozens of heavy vehicles plus infrastructural support it received free from friendly countries. To add insult to injury, a chronic cash crunch had resulted in the closure of the services. If a profitable proposition cannot be implemented, it would be inadvisable to continue the services at the taxpayers’ expense.