Dashain ticket pre-booking starts from next weekTraffic police to set up 14 help desks to tell inquirers bus fares to all the districts, distribute face masks and watch over-charging vehicles.
The Department of Transport Management, in association with the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, is set to operate 14 help desks in different parts of Kathmandu Valley to assist travellers as they make their annual trip home for the Dashain festival.
A meeting of government agencies and transport operators on September 21 had decided to open Dashain ticket bookings from September 27.
“We will set up all 14 help desks by Sunday,” said Senior Superintendent Sanjib Sharma Das, also the spokesperson for the division.
According to the traffic police division, help desks will be set up at Nagdhunga, Kalanki, Koteshwar, New Bus Park, Basundhara, Swayambhu, Balkhu, Gaushala, Sundhara and Jagate by Sunday.
For the convenience of passengers, bus fares for all 77 districts will be displayed at the help desks.
“We request all passengers to take a ticket from a designated counter and check the fare before buying any ticket. If they find anyone overcharging, they should just contact us,” said Das.
Each help desk will have five traffic officers, representatives from department of commerce, consumer group representatives, officials from Federation of Transport Entrepreneurs’ Associations and the Nepal Automobile Dealers’ Association.
The division office has set up eight help desks by Friday and the remaining six will be installed by Sunday, according to Das.
“We could not set up such help desks last year, as people hardly went out due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, however, the number of people leaving for their hometowns for the festival is going to increase, as everything has opened up in light of the declining Covid-19 cases,” said Das.
Ghatasthapana, which marks the start of the 10-day Dashain festival, falls on October 7. This is when people start to leave Kathmandu in droves for their hometowns.
A week ago, transport entrepreneurs had shown reluctance to open pre-booking for Dashain citing that fewer people may be leaving the Valley this year.
Namraj Ghimire, director general at the department, had pushed the transport entrepreneurs to open ticket booking to ensure safe and hassle-free travel for festival passengers.
According to the traffic division, 1,540 traffic police will be deployed across the Valley to prevent buses from carrying passengers beyond their seating capacities and overcharging the passengers.
Last year, the government allowed the operation of long-route vehicles from September 15 after lifting the nationwide lockdown that started on March 24. However, the number of people leaving the city was significantly low compared to the pre-pandemic period.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, the number of people travelling for Dashain exceeded 3 million.
“The number of people to leave the Valley for Dashin this year will be lower than one million. This is because many people who had left the Valley before the prohibitory orders were enforced in Kathmandu have not returned,” said Senior Superintendent Janak Bhattarai, also the chief of the Division.