Bus operators use Dashain ticket booking to press demands

GYAN P NEUPANE

KATHMANDU, Sept 15: Services for booking bus tickets for traveling out of the Kathmandu valley for Dashain holidays have been delayed after discussions between bus operators and concerned authorities failed to reach an agreement.

“We are in discussion with concerned authorities over the recently introduced rules and regulations that aim at controlling road accidents. We have reservations against some of the rules and are presently in discussion with the authorities to sort them out,” Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of the Federation of Nepal National Transport Entrepreneurs, an umbrella organization of transport entrepreneurs, told Republica.

Following spike in road accidents in various parts of the country, the government had responded by introducing stringent laws aimed at reducing road accidents. Bus operators however have objected to some of the proposed provisions. As part of the new measures, the government has banned operating of public buses along most of the gravel roads in rural parts of the country. The rule has made exemptions for certain rural roads.

In the past early booking facilities used to open around a month before the festival. However this year, the date is not yet set though the festival starts from October 1. “Till today we have not fixed any date for opening ticket booking for Dashain. We are yet to reach an agreement with the authorities.”

Transport entrepreneurs claim that the authorities had proposed the new rules without consulting them. Situala said that the government abruptly banned operation of buses in majority of gravel roads in rural areas thereby incurring huge losses to bus entrepreneurs. “As 70 percent of our vehicles run in rural routes, restricting buses from plying on them have forced entrepreneurs to face huge loss. The government should come up with a balanced plan for using rural routes.”

Along with that Sitaula said that they have been “demanding that the government improve condition of the Mugling-Narayanghat road section. The road has been badly damaged and vehicles are often blocked due to landslides and other hindrances for last several months,” and added that the government should resolve the issue at the earliest.

Basanta Adhikari, spokesperson of Department of Transport Management (DoTM) informed that they are preparing to open ticket booking from next week but confirmed that a date is yet to be finalized. “We are yet to discuss the booking process with transport entrepreneurs but we expect to finalize it very soon.”

First appeared in Republica national daily

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