DoTM asks Pabson, N-Pabsan for buses

  • festival season ticekt booking row
- Anup Ojha, Kathmandu

Sep 9, 2017-The government is in talks with Private and Boarding Schools Organisation Nepal (Pabson) and National Private and Boarding Schools Association Nepal (N-Pabsan) to operate their buses to ferry passengers leaving for different parts of the country for the Dashain festival from Kathmandu Valley.

With the transport operators refusing to announce the ticket booking date unless they are allowed to increase the fare, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) is seeking help from Sajha, Pabson and N-Pabsan to ensure there is no shortage of buses to transport thousands of passengers who live the Valley every year for the festival.  

Pabson and N-Pabsan are likely to lend their vehicles to ferry the festival passengers, Rupnarayan Bhattarai, the DoTM director general, said after a meeting with the 

officials of the two school organisations on Friday.

“They have responded positively. If the situation remains as it is now with the transport operators, then we could operate the courtesy vehicles,” Bhattarai said.

Pabson and N-Pabsan have 30,000 buses across the country, and they are willing to deploy the vehicles in case the transport operators decides not to halt their service during the festival.

Rajendra Baniya, general secretary of Pabson, said they were ready to help should the need arose.

“If there is no alternative and government wants our help we are ready to mobilise our vehicles for free of cost to students and passengers who are from outside the Kathmandu Valley, just like we did during the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake and the Indian blockade,” he said.

Besides Pabson and N-Pabsan, the DoTM has also reached out to Sajha Yatayat. 

Mahendra Pandey, acting CEO of Sajha, confirmed that the DoTM had recently approached Sajha with a proposition of ferrying festival passengers.

The Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE), an umbrella body of transport operators, has insisted that it will not open ticket bookings until its demand for readjustment of fare rate is addressed.

Dolanath Khanal, senior vice-president of the FNNTE, said the government should at least furnish a written assurance for them to consider their position.

The dispute between DoTM and FNNTE has raised concern among people who are planning to go home for this year’s festival.

“I am not sure how I will visit my home this time. I had read in papers that the ticket bookings were opening from Thursday, but when I reached a ticket counter in New Bus Park, I was told there was no festival booking,” said Unnat Kandel, a student who hails from Dharan.  

Up to 9,000 public buses leave the Kathmandu Valley daily during Dashain. The DoTM estimates that 2.5 million people are set to leave the Valley this year.

Even if the DoTM secured the buses from Pabson, N-Pabsan and Sajha, they will still be insufficient to accommodate all passengers.

Published: 09-09-2017 07:27

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