20 Sajha buses to begin service in Bhaktapur route from tomorrow

May 23, 2017

The Kathmandu Post, 23rd May 2017, Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Sajha Yatayat, a cooperative public transport company, will be extending its service to Bhaktapur from Wednesday.

The cooperative has decided to run the buses on the Bhaktapur route after being allotted a permit from the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) on Monday.

According to Sajha officials, the new bus service will be operated between Swayambhu in Kathmandu and Suryavinayak in Bhaktapur, covering a distance of around 27km.

Sajha will charge a fare of Rs25 (Rs15 for student card holders) for the entire journey.

Under the new service, the first bus departs at 5:30am from Swayambhu and passes along Kalanki, Kalimati, Teku, Tripureshwor, Nepal Airlines, Ratnapark, Purano Bus Park, Sahidgate, Tripureshwor, Maitighar, New Baneshwor, Minbhawan, Tinkune, Koteshwor, Jadibuti, Lokanthali, Kaushaltar, Radhe Radhe, Shrijana Nagar, Sallaghari, Katunje  Chowk, Chundevi and Suryavinayak, explained DoTM Spokesperson Tok Raj Pandey. The buses will follow the same route on their return jorney. The last bus departs at 8pm.

Sajha had applied at the DoTM for the route permit on March 13, but the process was delayed due to pressure from local stakeholders, including Bhaktapur Minibus Service Committee (BMSC), who were against sharing the route with Sajha buses. However, 1,500 people living in Bhaktapur submitted a memorandum to the DoTM, prompting the transport authority to grant Sajha the route permit early this month.

The news of Sajha bus plying the Bhaktapur route has delighted daily commuters in Bhaktapur.

“It’s a big relief. People will now have an option on this route, which would make the public transport much reliable,” said Ramesh Gosai, a local of Chymashi, Bhaktapur. The new bus service will bring an end to the long-held monopoly of local bus operators.

At a press conference a month ago, BMSC Chairman Gyanendra Maharjan had warned that they would bring the entire transportation system in the district to a halt if Sajha was given a permit. A total of 337 buses run on 17 routes in Bhaktapur district under the banner of the committee .

“It was an exhaustive task,” Sajha’s Acting Executive Officer Mahendra Raj Pandey said of route the permit.

“But the DoTM has only provided us a permit to operate on Naya Bato (new road). It has not given us the route of Naya Thimi [old route that passes through Madhyapur Thimi].”

Out of the 46 buses on its fleet, Sajha has been operating 38 on various routes in Kathmandu and Lalitpur.

The remaining buses run on long routes to Birgunj and Baglung.

Sajha is planning to add 11 deluxe coaches to extend services to long distance routes and a semi low floor bus for Kathmandu in the next six months.