July 7, Kathmandu. In July 2078, Raju Prasai had paid Rs. However, less than a year later, he had to pay Rs 2,400 for the same route. “It’s almost doubled in such a short time,” he says.
Public transport fares on all routes have increased by 65 percent in the last one year. The price of petroleum products is faster than the rate of increase in car fares. The government has also increased public transport fares by 7.7 percent on Monday alone.
The government, which is adjusting fares to a ‘scientifically automated system’, is not breaking even in the scientific management of public transport. Instead, private vehicles and public transport are treated similarly by the government.
The government on Monday increased the price of diesel by Rs 27 per liter to Rs 192. The government has increased the price of diesel, which is consumed in public transport, at a higher rate than petrol by increasing the price of petrol used in most private vehicles by Rs 21 per liter. Experts say this shows the government’s indifference to public transport and its users. Management of public transport for the poor and lower middle class is not a priority of the government. The torment of the public transport riders is increasing due to the negligence of the government.
For the citizens who cannot afford a private car, skyrocketing fares are making public transport a ‘fruit of the sky’. When the government fails in proper management, the attraction towards public transport is decreasing instead of increasing. When the public transport service is disrupted, even those who want to leave private vehicles have no choice.
The private sector, which operates public transport, suffers more from profit than service improvement. Ashish Gajurel, a public transport expert, says that some developed countries are offering a few percent refund to service providers to make the use of public transport cheaper and more dignified.
He says that there should be work to increase the attraction towards public transport by giving tax exemption to the transport service providers. “Now we also have to standardize the public transport service by giving various schemes and grants,” he said.
Saroj Sitaula, senior vice president of the National Federation of Nepali Transport Entrepreneurs, says that the government has not been able to bring incentive policies and programs for the improvement of public transport.
He said that the use of private vehicles would automatically be discouraged if the government introduced a practical, incentive and scientific policy in the public transport sector. “Developing infrastructure to increase the use of electric vehicles, making public transport services technology-based and moving forward will reduce problems,” he said.
Entrepreneurs should also play a role in improving public transport services, says Sitaula. He said that everyone would support the government to make public transport cheap, easy, reliable, organized, safe and dignified. “We are not only happy that the fares have gone up, people are not able to get in the cars,” says Sitaula.
Torture the passenger
It is said that one can understand the level of civilization and development of a country by looking at its public transport. However, the public transport system in Nepal is not only chaotic, it is chaotic and deplorable.
Public transport is not universally accessible in Nepal. Public transport is not easily available in any part of the country. Limited transport companies have a monopoly on many routes. There is no place to put one’s feet in the available vehicles. Crowded, crowded, chaotic, chaotic Nepali has become the standard of public transport. Gajurel, a public transport expert, says, “The co-driver keeps the passengers in a hurry by telling them to go away and move backwards.”
There is no standard for the driver, co-driver, how to speak, how to behave, how to train the driver, how to stop the car without stopping, how to take money, how to present.
The inconvenience caused to the passengers in the vehicles including microbuses while coming and going to the office cannot be mentioned. Disputes over rents have become commonplace. There is a tendency for the government to try to raise more than it has raised.
The journey is difficult for the sick, pregnant, children, the disabled, the elderly, the handicapped and women. It is difficult to pick up when others are sitting in the reserved seats. In the crowd, women are being treated indecently. Those who work late into the evening are not allowed on public transport.
It is not decided which bus leaves at which time and arrives at which time. It is not decided whether to reach the school, office or hospital on time by taking public transport. You have to fight a little to get on public transport. Even after climbing, there is no comfortable sitting position. ‘Traveling by public transport is like a little torture. Also, we are compelled to travel in this way, “says Gajurel.
Nowhere in the country do companies run by transport operators issue vehicle and transport tickets. No action has been taken even after charging more than the stipulated fare due to lack of tickets.
The same goes for hotels that stop public transportation on the highway. Highway hotels are notorious for stale food, poor sanitation and high rates.
These are not the only reasons why it is difficult to get on public transportation. Most of the bus seats are filthy, dirty and smelly. Passengers have no choice but to choose a good bus. Within the means of public transport, there is still a lack of attention paid to the minimum issues including sanitation.
Once in the bus, open the seat and put the curtain on the window, it will not change until it is torn and useless. Passengers also do not complain that the seat is dirty and torn. As it is, the common habit of sitting and traveling seems to have helped to make the filthy tendency a culture. In some seats, sharp iron is found coming out after everything has gone. Passengers do not know when to cut, pierce or tear their clothes. Most of the bus seats have a dirty market where the driver / co-driver sleeps at night.
Most buses do not have a dustbin. Passengers also throw away their used plastic, paper, almonds and bark. It is not known where the clothes get stained while traveling in the crowd.
Some bus cabins are so dirty that it is impossible to sit. It is not found how many mobiles spilled inside the bus have been cleaned. Extra mud and dirt tires are kept inside the bus without being covered. There are also buses in Kathmandu that cover the vomit of passengers and run all day long.
Public transport services in Nepal are not only unorganized and unrestricted, but also unsafe. The number of deaths and mutilations in public transport accidents is also significant. Government figures show that an average of seven people die daily in accidents across the country.
However, the government and stakeholders have interpreted every car accident as a future. Accidents have been reported due to driver negligence, over speeding or overload. No serious investigation has been carried out into the accident and no immediate steps have been taken to prevent the accident.
The issue of establishing a separate regulatory body for road safety has been raised for years, but the government has been limited to keeping records of day-to-day accidents.
“Even if the plane slips on the runway, the government will set up a commission of inquiry to look into the cause of the accident and find a way to reduce it,” said Ram Bahadur Thapa, a transport reform engineer.
He said that the traffic police had come to a conclusion about the accident after looking at the spot and taking statements. “The situation will not improve unless the road accidents are generalized in this way,” he said.
The government has not paid attention to the issue of not allowing passengers to carry more than the seat capacity and tightening the arrangements including driver ferns in the middle of long routes.
Experts say that unless there is emphasis on making drivers responsible, improving road infrastructure, scientifically checking the technical condition of vehicles, and enforcing the law, the risk on the road will not decrease. He said that the government should also make policy arrangements by focusing on emergency rescue, treatment and rehabilitation.
Road safety expert Padma Bahadur Shahi says that the government has not paid enough attention to make the roads and vehicles safe. According to him, the government’s policy of setting up a vehicle fitness center in the same province has left its mark on the roads.
The government’s policy of allowing only those who have passed by regularly inspecting the mechanical and physical condition of vehicles at such centers to use the road is limited to paper.
If there is no strict legal system to prevent overload, modern and practical tools and systems have not been provided to the traffic police to control the speed.
The risk of such accidents is even higher on rural roads. As the condition of rural road infrastructure is even more deplorable, there is a fear of major accidents.
There is about 100,000 kilometers of road network in the country. Most of them are dirt roads. Many sections of the 22,000 km national highway have not been tarred yet. The federal, state and local governments, which are focused on building roads, have not paid much attention to safety. “Public transport must be made reliable, affordable, well-organized and well-facilitated,” said Sitaula, secretary general of the National Federation of Transport Entrepreneurs.
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