Pre-booking of Dashain travel tickets uncertainOfficials to meet again next week to fix the advance booking date.
The option of pre-booking Dashain travel tickets remains uncertain as a meeting among concerned officials on Wednesday ended without a decision.
Representatives from the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs, Department of Transport Management, and other stakeholders attributed their inability to fix the pre-booking availability date to lack of adequate homework and better planning.
Officials at the Department said the advance Dashain ticket booking date would be announced only after another meeting that is going to be held next week.
“We wanted to open the ticket booking in a well-managed way, but due to lack of better homework and planning, we could not announce the pre-booking date. The date will be fixed only after assessing the number of public vehicles that will be operating during that time so that the public won’t face any inconvenience to get a ticket,” said Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general at the Department. He further said the Department has asked transport entrepreneurs to provide last year’s data on how many vehicles were operated on different routes outside the Valley during the festival.
However, Yogendra Karmacharya, president of Transport Entrepreneurs, said with no new buses being added, lack of adequate capacity will pose problems for festival travel out of the Valley. “After the government dissolved the transport committee under the Company Act, entrepreneurs were discouraged from buying new vehicles, and this created new problems,” said Karmacharya. “Earlier, before Dashain, 400 to 500 new buses used to be added in different routes, but now the situation is different. ” Last year, the government had amended the existing Transport Management Directives, 2004, to break the syndicate in the public transport sector that was growing under the transport committees and associations.
Saroj Sitaula, general secretary at the Transport Entrepreneurs, said to know the actual number of total public vehicles, they have called all the chairpersons of private companies for a meeting on Thursday.
Metropolitan Traffic Police Division estimates that over 3 million people are expected to leave the Valley during Dashain.
To address potential shortage of public vehicles to meet the needs of those heading to their hometowns from the Valley, government officials have also said they are going to use school and college buses. To make that happen, the Department is meeting with the Private and Boarding School Organisations Nepal and National Private and Boarding School Associations Nepal later this week.
Traffic police estimates that every day over the ten-day festival, over 9,000 public buses will be needed to ferry passengers from the Valley to their hometowns.