Print Edition - 2018-10-04 | News
Majority of tickets for Dashain sold out
- home bound
Oct 4, 2018-
Within a week of opening pre-booking for the upcoming festival season, most of the tickets of public buses have been sold out, leaving the public to panic over their plans to visit their family in their hometown.
Ticket counters at the New Bus Park at Gongabu have been selling day-to-day tickets whereas the tickets for days during Dashain festivals are not available at most of the counters. It is estimated that nearly three million people leave Kathmandu to celebrate the festival in outside districts.
Niranjan Patel of Birgunj and his friend Niru Shahi of Nepalgunj were hopping from counters to counters to get tickets for their hometowns. “I have visited some counters, but have not got tickets. Shortage of ticket for Dashain has been similar every year,” said Shahi, who would be traveling to her hometown after one year.
According to ticketing officials, booking of tickets for October 9 to October 16 have been in demand whereas most of the passengers have booked tickets from October 14 to October 16.
Patel, however, was ready to get a ticket for any days around Dashain, the biggest festival of Hindus in the country, which begins this year on October 10.
“I would take the ticket any day between October 13 and 15, but that doesn’t look possible now,” said Patel, adding, he would look for other options like microbuses or Tata Sumos to go to Birgunj.
“Even microbuses and sumo operators hike the price during festivals. I have come to get my tickets for nearly two weeks before I leave. Still, I have not got the tickets. How early should I come to buy tickets?” Patel said. This year, the government opened advanced booking on September 24, which was more than two weeks later than normal routine of opening pre-booking for festivals. The delay in fixing the date of festival pre-booking was due to the refusal of public transport operators who demanded that the government lift the freeze on their bank accounts and revise the transport fare.
Later, the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association (FNNTEA) decided to open booking after the government, on September 22, agreed to increase public transport fares by 10 percent.
While demands of tickets for public buses outbound to eastern cities of the country have been lower, those returning to places in western Nepal have been facing a tough time to get tickets.
According to Ramesh Shrestha, FNNTTE coordinator of the New Bus Park chapter, tickets for Butwal, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Surkhet, Dhangadhi, and other western and far western places.
“Tickets for western Nepal are almost booked so they are struggling to get tickets. For passengers trying to go to eastern cities, they have other vehicle options like Micro Buses,” said Shrestha.
He, however, claimed everyone will be getting tickets as bus operators will be making the arrangements.
Ramesh DC, an owner of a bus plying along the Kathmandu-Nepalgunj route, said tickets for his deluxe bus was booked for Dashain.
“We had opened booking on the scheduled date. In the next few days, all the tickets were sold out. We are trying to add more buses targeting the festival,” said DC.
The Department of Transport Management spokesperson Gokarna Prasad Upadhyaya said over 30,000 tickets were been sold to passengers till last Monday whereas the department was collecting the latest data on ticket sale.
According to Upadhyaya, more buses will be added so that the public get to travel to their hometown in a hassle-free manner.
“Transport operators are soon conducting a meeting on how more buses can be added to routes with massive passenger pressure. We are also considering of making buses route free so they can ply in other routes during the festival,” added Upadhyaya.
Published: 04-10-2018 07:05