Route restriction lifted to ease travel rush

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 10, 2018-

In a bid to handle the festival travel rush, the Department of Transport Management has decided to temporarily lift the route restriction, allowing public vehicles to ply any routes across the country. The rule will come into force from Wednesday, which is also Ghatasthapna, the first day of Dashain, the biggest festival of Nepali Hindus.

According to Gokarna Upadhyaya, spokesperson for the Department of Transport Management, the decision was aimed at facilitating people’s travel home for the annual celebrations at a time when hundreds of thousands of people are unable to book bus tickets in advance.

“In the lack of sufficient numbers of vehicles on some routes, people are struggling to get tickets during the festival season. The queue-free system will enable public buses to operate on other routes as well,” said Upadhyaya.

The department also said that movement of lorries and trailers has been controlled to avoid unwanted traffic congestion and possible accidents.

After opening pre-bookings on September 25 for public bus seats, advance booking for smaller vehicles also started on Tuesday, according to Upadhyaya.

A large number of passengers also travel via the BP Highway on small public vehicles like micro- and mini-buses and jeeps. However, due to relatively fewer seats, such vehicle operators had been reluctant to open pre-bookings for the upcoming festival.

Following complaints of small vehicles charging passengers more than the rate fixed by the government, the Transport Management Department has intensified monitoring in different parts of the Capital. During random inspection on Tuesday morning, officials found that passengers were charged up to Rs800 for tickets worth Rs500. “We found more than a dozen small vehicles, plying the BP Highway and other routes, charging passengers extra. We made them return the extra money and warned of further action,” Upadhyaya told the Post.

The department said nearly 70,000 tickets have been sold from New Bus Park in Gongabu, Kathmandu, alone since pre-bookings were announced. The number of tickets booked for the festival is likely to go up as counters in other parts of the Valley such as Gaushala, Koteshwor, Sundhara and Kalanki also sell bus tickets. The department has been mulling over removing ticket counters from areas, especially Kalanki, citing traffic jams and black-marketing of tickets.

“Ticket counters have caused unwanted traffic congestion in the Kalanki area. There are also reports of passengers cheated by brokers in collusion with ticket counters. This plan will take some time to materialise,”  Upadhyaya said.

Published: 10-10-2018 08:17

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