To control ticket scalpers, police make it mandatory for ticket counter operators to wear uniform and identity cardThe move has been brought into effect to control ticket scalping ahead of Dashain.
In a bid to control ticket scalping—the selling of bus tickets in the black market—during Dashain, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, in association with transport entrepreneurs, has made it mandatory for ticket counters to wear a uniform and carry an identity card.
To bring the order into effect, the Division Office and the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs have started distributing the uniforms—blue coloured full sleeve shirts with grey trousers—to different counters from Tuesday.
“This week, traffic police distributed the uniforms to counters in the Kalanki and Koteshwor areas. We will finish distributing uniforms at all the ticket counters soon,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Bhim Prasad Dhakal, chief of the Division. “We have already cooperated with public bus operator companies to provide the uniform for free.”
Every year, many people leave Kathmandu for their hometowns to celebrate Dashain. To exploit the situation, many bus operators create an artificial shortage of bus tickets, creating a black market where passengers are forced to purchase tickets at exorbitant black market prices.
“We want to make hassle-free travel available for passengers during Dashain, where nobody is cheated,” said Saroj Sitaula, general secretary at the Transportation Entrepreneurs. He further said that stakeholders are working to fix the number of ticket counters in the Valley during Dashain, but this is not the first time Sitaula has made this promise. Last year too Sitaula had said he would fix the number of ticket counters.
Last Dashain, the Post had reported that ticket scalping was not only being done by long-route buses but also by many smaller vehicles, like micro- and mini-buses and jeeps, in the Koteshwor area. The report also stated that public vehicle operators were charging extra money for the tickets but refusing to mention the price on the ticket. No government authority took any action against the fraudulent counter operators.
“This is the reason why this year we have made it mandatory for ticket sellers to wear a uniform and carry identity cards. We will mobilise traffic police along with the Nepal Police to check such malpractices,” said Dhakal, the newly appointed head of the traffic division.
The division, in coordination with the federation, will complete distributing uniforms at all the ticket counters in New Bus Park, Chabahil, Gaushala, Basundhara, Gwarko, Satdobato, Balkhu, Sundhara, Macha Pokhari before September 22, which is the day people can start pre-booking their Dashain travel tickets. Due to lack of better homework and planning of government and stakeholders, the pre-booking date announcement was cancelled on September 5.
Traffic officials said the help desks would keep the surveillance of ticketing staffers and their record of wearing uniform and identity card. The Department and traffic police have already announced to set up help desks in 14 different parts of Kathmandu Valley. Each desk will be staffed by at least one official of the transport office, the traffic police, the Nepal Police, and representatives from Transportation Entrepreneurs and member consumer group.
There will also be a help desk that will have a flex board showing the government-fixed bus ticket prices at different bus stops.
The division estimates that this year over 3 million people will be leaving the Valley during Dashain.