Kathmandu, February 28, 2017:Â Public transport vehicles that are more than 20 years old will be banned from the streets of Kathmandu from Wednesday, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) said.
Old buses, mini buses, micro buses, pickups, taxi cabs and other motor vehicles bearing black licence plates will not be allowed to operate in the Capital. The ban will not apply to private automobiles.
The ban on old motor vehicles was approved by the Cabinet two years ago, and the DoTM had been authorised to implement the decision within that timetable.
According to a rough estimate, there are around 2,500 vehicles that are more than 20 years old running in the Kathmandu Valley.
The department recommended getting rid of old vehicles because it said they were largely responsible for air pollution, environmental degradation, traffic congestion and road accidents.
The jalopies also guzzle more gasoline and have high maintenance costs. According to the DoTM, motor vehicle exhaust accounts for 40 percent of the air pollution in the Valley. In the first phase, motor vehicles that are more than 20 years old will be forbidden from operating in Kathmandu. The DoTM said the ban would be gradually extended to other major cities across the country.
The department aims to remove old vehicles from the streets all across the country by mid-March 2018. After public transport vehicles, the government will turn its attention to out-of-date private vehicles.
Old vehicles registered in Bagmati zone will not be permitted to operate elsewhere in the country. â€œWe have already issued a circular to all Zonal Transport Offices. Hence, the ownership of such vehicles cannot be transferred,â€
said Tok Raj Pandey, spokesperson for the DoTM. â€œThere is no alternative but to scrap such vehicles.â€ Meanwhile, authorities feel that there is no need to compensate the owners of vehicles that have been condemned as they have recovered their costs. The DoTM said it would reissue route permits if the owners get new replacements.
â€œVehicle owners will get a new licence number for their vehicles. Reissuing the route permit does not mean making adjustments to the previous one,â€ Pandey said.
According to Pandey, the government has initiated the process of only replacing public vehicles to make sure that the decision is implemented properly. â€œWe could have issued a blanket ban. However, we thought of implementing the decision gradually to make it easier for all stakeholders,â€ Pandey said.
Moreover, private vehicles are maintained better and they are on the streets infrequently, so there is no hurry to get rid of them. The DoTM is coordinating with the Traffic Police to ensure that the rule is implemented strictly.
The governmentâ€™s plan to drive old vehicles off the streets has been repeatedly put off due to strong opposition from transportation entrepreneurs.