June 20, 2019 05:30 AM NPT
By: Aditi Baral
A traffic policeman informing bus passengers about the new ‘pick and drop’ rule in this recent photo. Photo courtesy: Metropolitan Traffic Police Division
KATHMANDU, JUNE 20: The 'pick and drop' system for public transport introduced three months ago by traffic police is catching on.
Commuters told Republica that the system is practical, reduces congestion and saves time.
"The pick-and-drop system has eased traffic jam markedly. Drivers no longer pull over their vehicles in between stops. This also reduces accidents," said 17-year-old Dipesh Gyawali, a local of Samakhushi. "Earlier, I could catch bus anywhere but now I have to walk to the stop. Although this is a new hassle for me, I feel that public transport is more managed now."
Another public transport user, Arun Nepali, is a 12th grader at Uniglobe College Kamaladi, also shared similar experience. "Earlier, buses would stop anywhere and I could easily get into a vehicle from anywhere on the way. Now however, there are fixed pick-up and drop points for passengers. Though I have to walk a little more, it has helped improve the overall traffic flow on the road.”
The recent pick-and-drop system was introduced in April by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, Kathmandu. Initially, it was implemented in the NAC bus park area of Sundhara and at Jamal and was later extended to several other areas including Koteshwar and Kalanki.
Earlier, I could catch bus anywhere but now I have to walk to the stop. Although this is a new hassle for me, I feel that public transport is more managed now. -- Dipesh Gyawali, 17, a local of Samakhushi
Under the rule, public transport vehicles can't stop vehicles in between stops. Anyone found violating the rule faces a fine between Rs 500 and Rs 1000.
"Sometimes, passengers insist that we stop the vehicle at the places of their choosing. And we have to explain to them the new traffic rule," said Uttam Tamrakar, a driver along Ratnapark Buspark-Kirtipur route. "I support the rule but strict implementation is important for its success."
Tamrakar who has been driving public vehicles for the last seven years said that the new system is good as it eases traffic congestion. He claimed that he has not violated the rule even once. "First time offenders are fined Rs 500 and re-offenders are made to pay Rs 1,000 and their vehicles could be impounded for an entire day," he said.
So re-offenders face the prospect of losing their income of entire day.
"I have experienced less congestion on the road because most of the drivers have been following the new rule," said Tamrakar.
Earlier, Tamarakar used to stop his vehicle at a stop for maximum of 10-15 minutes waiting for passengers. But now he doesn't wait for more than 3 minutes.
He, however, complained that the traffic police office has not done enough to make the public aware about the new rule. "People who have not heard about the rule quarrel with the driver when they are not dropped off at the places of their choice. Some people are difficult to convince."
According to Ramesh Magar who operates on the Ratnapark-Machhegaun route, in the initial days, some angry passengers refused to pay their fares because they could not get off at their 'personal stops'.
According to police inspector Daya Krishna Bhatta at Metropolitan Police Office at Durbar Marg, the rule has become effective and helpful in reducing congestion in the city. "Currently, we are in the first phase of this initiative. The experience of the past three months is satisfactory," he said.
He claimed that traffic police officials are trying their best to make public transport users and drivers about the rule. "We have put up message boards at public places and also inform the drivers and members of the public in person," Bhatta said.