KMC fails to operate night bus service in the CapitalOn April 7, Kathmandu Metropolitan City had announced to operate public buses till 10 pm, but the plan has yet to materialise.
Samundra KC of Pepsicola, Kathmandu, works at a cafe in Baneshwor. The 19-year-old student gets off of work at 9 pm. Most nights, he walks home, as there are no public vehicles available at that hour. “To catch a bus, I need to be at the bus stop before 8, and that is hard, as I have to work till 9. I cannot even afford to take a taxi home every night,” said KC. “So I have to walk or ask for a lift to get home.”
Thirty-year-old Tara Dangal of Kageshwari Manahara-6 in Kathmandu also faces a similar ordeal. Her office in Thapathali closes at 8 pm, and she has to wait for a long time to catch a public vehicle to her route. Even if she manages to find one, Dangal says the travel can be troublesome because evening buses are usually crowded.
“I usually try to finish my work early to get home on time,” Dangal said. “The government should effectively operate public vehicles until late in the evening.”
On April 7, Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) had announced to operate public buses till 10 pm.
The city officials had also issued an official gazette on April 12, directing public transport operators to run their vehicles from 5 am to 9 pm between October 18 to February 12, and from 5 am to 10 pm between February 13 to October 17.
It was the third time the KMC had announced its plan to operate night bus service. Earlier in August 2012, the city officials had signed an agreement with transport operators to run night bus service from 8 pm to 11 pm. It had also provided Rs 4.5 million to the service providers, but the plan did not take off.
Again, in September 2015, the KMC and Sajha Yatayat had signed an agreement to procure 20 buses at the cost of Rs 100 million and operate night bus service in Kathmandu. The plan failed to materialise, again.
According to Gogan Bahadur Hamal, the director general at the Department of Transport Management, his office did not see any need to run public vehicles till late night, as markets and offices remain closed at that hour, and there are not many people who would benefit from the service.
“We are discussing the issue with stakeholders,” Hamal said. “To make the night bus service practical, market hours and office hours should be extended till late in the night.”
Only Sajha Yatayat has followed the KMC’s decision to operate night bus services. It has been operating its vehicles on the Valley’s major roads to facilitate night shift workers.
Sajha Yatayat has begun night bus services along three routes: Lagankhel to Kalanki via Tripuershwor; New Road to Naya Bus Park via Narayan Gopalchowk; and Tribhuvan International Airport to New Bus Park. However, many complain that the three routes are not enough, as they do not cover the whole Valley.
According to Information Officer at KMC Basanta Acharya, the city has formed a committee that will monitor this issue.
“We are planning to arrange a meeting with the public transport operators to implement the night bus service effectively,” Acharya said.
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