KATHMANDU, April 4: Despite obstructions from transport cartel, Mayur Yatayat, a newly introduced bus service along the Arniko Highway, has gained widespread admiration from service seekers for its lower fare, good facilities and reliable service.
Thirteen committees of transport cartel along the highway have announced that they would not operate their vehicles for infinite period from Wednesday as a sign of protest against the government allowing route permit to Mayur Yatayat. The transport cartels have demanded that the government revoke route permit awarded to Mayur Yatayat, which has been operating since March 15.
On Tuesday, the cartel attempted to prevent Mayur Yatayat’s buses from operating along the Arniko Highway. They even blocked the road. However, both the attempts were foiled by a strong presence of security personnel and the locals, who escorted the buses belonging to the company safely to their destination.
“Before the introduction of Mayur Yatayat, we were forced to travel along the highway on overcrowded vehicles. Drivers’ assistants also used to mistreat us during fare collection,” said Madan Shrestha, a non-gazetted officer at the Department of Cottage and Small Industries. “My first experience travelling in Mayur Yayatat was wonderful. The seats were comfortable and the fare was just Rs 35,” he added.
As many as 24 transportation committees back by a strong transportation cartel have been operating along the Arniko Highway, preventing new competitors through threats and other unfair means to protect their own interests. This has created hassles for commuters who were forced to travel on overcrowded vehicles at high fares, that too without seats.
Travelling was unbearable especially during the time of festivals, so much so that many would hesitate to travel due to the pitiful condition of transportation service.
“We proposed adding more number of vehicles along the highway during many meetings of municipal council. However, the transport entrepreneurs operating within the cartel only ignored to maximize profits,” said Rabin Shakya, former chairman of Banepa Municipal Development Committee.
When the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) issued permit to 24 vehicles of Mayur Yatayat to operate from Kathmandu Valley’s ring road to Banepa, it brought much needed respite to the commuters. However, the cartel resorted to violence and protest as they saw challenge to over four decade of their monopoly.
“Our demand is simple: The government should do proper studies on road capacity, road condition and public demands before giving permit to new vehicles. We will not accept route permit given arbitrarily without such studies,” said Bijay Bahadur Swar, senior vice president of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs, an umbrella organization of transport entrepreneurs that protects the ‘interests’ of its member transport committees.
Despite strong objection, Mayur Yayatayat has been holding its ground by providing reliable service with strong support from the public.