Transport operators refuse to open festival ticket booking

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 21, 2018-

Four days after agreeing to open bus ticket booking for Dashain, transport operators have reneged on the deal.

They have said that the ticket booking service will not open from Friday, as they had previously committed, owing to the recent hike in the prices of petroleum products.   

On September 16, representatives from the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs’ Association (FNNTEA) and the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) had agreed to open bus ticket booking for Dashain starting Friday.

The deal was reached after the government side agreed to unfreeze the bank accounts of the blacklisted transport committees and review the ticket prices after the festival season.

Now, the transport operators say that they cannot honour the deal since the government has increased the fuel prices.  

FNNTEA President Yogendra Karmacharya said the government’s decision to raise the prices of petroleum products contradicted the transport operators’ demand for transport fare revision.

“We, transport entrepreneurs, have long been demanding for a review of transport fare. Instead of addressing our concern, the government has hiked the fuel prices,” Karmacharya said.

The state oil monopoly, Nepal Oil Corporation, had raised the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs 2 and Rs 3 respectively on the same day the FNNTEA and the DoTM had agreed to open Dashain ticket booking.

Transport operators insist that it is the government that has failed to hold its end of the bargain.

They are not assured that the government will keep the other promise-- unfreezing the bank accounts of the blacklisted transport committees-- after the fuel price hikes.

 “They had told us that they would facilitate the process of unfreezing the closed bank accounts. Several transport operators have been compelled to bear various expenses because their bank accounts are closed. What will happen if we open the ticket booking and these transport operators did not join us?” said Karmacharya.

The government, meanwhile, seems confident that the festival ticket booking service will open on the agreed day.

Madhu Sudan Adhikari, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, assured that festival ticket booking service will open from Friday.  

“The transport operators have said in their statement that they will not be compelled to abide by the agreement, but they have not mentioned that they will stop ticket booking service,” said Adhikari, claiming that the transport operators were using the issue of fuel price hikes as a bargaining chip.

DoTM Spokesperson Gokarna Prasad Upadhyay said the department has already communicated the decision of the September 16 meeting between the FNNTEA and the DoTM representatives to the ministries of transport, home

and finance.

“We had agreed to facilitate the process of unfreezing the bank accounts of the concerned transport committees. But it is not under the department’s jurisdiction to unfreeze the blacklisted bank accounts, nor revising the fuel prices,” he said, adding that the DoTM has completed all preparations for festival ticket booking.

Nearly 3 million Nepalis use public transports to travel to their home districts for Dashain celebrations.

Published: 21-09-2018 07:20

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