The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) has allowed public vehicles to ply any route across the country without any restriction effective from today.
The DoTM’s decision intends to facilitate the people commuting during Dashain and will be in place till October 17, according to Gokarna Prasad Upadhyay, spokesperson for the department.
This means that transporters of public vehicles can carry passengers in routes other than that for which they have been authorised for the next one week.
“We took such a decision in the backdrop of public complaints that they are finding it difficult to get bus tickets. Lifting the route restrictions for public vehicles will facilitate travellers during Dashain,” said Upadhyay.
As per DoTM’s estimation, more than two million people leave Kathmandu Valley for their hometown during Dashain, thereby increasing the demand for public transport services. However, people find it difficult to book their bus tickets due to lack of sufficient vehicles in some routes.
“As the route limitation for vehicles has been lifted, transport entrepreneurs are expected to operate their vehicles on the routes where the flow of passengers is higher,” added Upadhyay.
Since the booking of bus tickets opened on September 25, people have been queuing in front of ticket counters across the Valley, especially in Gaushala, Koteshwor, Kalanki, New Buspark and Old Bus Park. While transport entrepreneurs have been saying that majority of bus tickets for Dashain have been sold out, a large number of Valley dwellers are yet to book their tickets.
Similarly, DoTM has also banned the movement big trucks in Kathmandu and along Narayangadh road section till Dashain to ensure smooth traffic flow.
Transport entrepreneurs have welcomed the decision of the government to lift route restrictions for vehicles temporarily. “We will add vehicles as per necessity and ensure easy movement of people duringDashain,” said Saroj Sitaula, secretary of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE).
Meanwhile, DoTM has warned transport entrepreneurs not to overcharge passengers during Dashain. “If transport entrepreneurs are found to be charging higher fare, we will scrap their licences,” said an official at DoTM.
DoTM has also deployed its inspection team in major routes and set up help desks at different places to curb possible anomalies in the public transportation sector amid festive season and facilitate travellers.
A version of this article appears in print on October 11, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.