Mar 14, 2016- Mahanagar Yatayat Pvt Ltd on Sunday unveiled 39 new buses that will offer transportation service around Ring Road.
The companyâ€™s Vice-chairman Santosh Khatiwada said each bus, Starbus Ultra by Tata Motors, cost Rs 160 million. The 32-seater bus also has facilities like Wi-Fi, GPS system and TV, among others, he added.
The company has also announced to launch a smartphone app through which people can check the location of the nearest bus.
â€œThese type of public buses are new in Nepal. They are passenger-friendly and we hope this could help in solving commuter movement problem in the Valley,â€ Khatiwada said.
The news has come as a big respite for those who rely on public transports on a daily basis.
According to a government estimate, about a million one-way person trips are made each day in the Valley via public vehicles. But the share of low-occupancy vehicles such as minibuses, microbuses and tempos accounts for 94 percent of total public transport vehicles, while share of large buses is six percent.
There are 200 designated public vehicle routes in the Valley, but most of them are plied by small-sized vehicles. Major bus stops such as Ratna Park, New Baneshwor, Tripureshwor, Kalanki, Jamal, Swayambhu, Koteshwor, Satdobato and Chabahil remain crowded as people cannot board the few available buses. A master plan categorising Valley roads according to the type of public vehicles which are suitable for them has not been implemented.
Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project, a unit under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, is working to separate roads in the Valley as per the flow of traffic into three categories-primary, secondary and tertiary. Preliminary study conducted by the project has classified eight routes as primary, 16 as secondary and 42 as tertiary.
According to the plan, only big public buses with capacity of at least 42 seats will be allowed in the primary route, medium-sized buses with capacity of 15-35 seats will ply in the secondary route and vehicles less than 15-seater can operate in tertiary.
But according to director at Department of Transport Management Basanta Adhikari, the biggest challenge is to rope transport entrepreneurs into this idea. The countryâ€™s transport associations have time and again blocked reform plans and they will be difficult to persuade.
Moreover, road management units of the government such as the Department of Roads have not installed road signs at most of the places, making the job of traffic regulation enforcers tougher.
But operators of the 39 new buses say that their vehicles will ease traffic congestion in the Valley as they will carry a large number of passengers at a time and run as per schedule.
â€œThe bus will only stop at designated places and will always depart in time,â€ said Madhusudhan Upadhyay, chairman of Swayambhu Bus Service Committee, under which Mahanagar Yatayat is operating. â€œThe bus will make a trip around the Ring Road in two hours.â€
Mahanagar Yatayat has also announced to employ female conductors in the buses.