Bus ticket bookings for Dashain partially open

Published On: September 23, 2018 07:18 AM NPT By: DIYA DHAKAL

People confused by divisions among transport operators

KATHMANDU, Sept 23: With the Dashain festival around the corner, bus operators have partially opened bookings and distribution of tickets from Friday.

However, some ticket counters at Gongabu Bus Park, the main bus station in the capital that distributes bus tickets to several districts, have not opened bookings. They are holding out for readjustments in transport fares following the hike in fuel prices. 

On Saturday afternoon, booking was open for tickets to  districts and  towns including Kushma, Beni, Burtiwang, Jomsom, Muktinath, Kohalpur, Malarani, Radi, Liwang, Holleri, Ghartigaun, Baghmara, Nepalgunj, Dang, Salyan, Baglung, Surkhet, Dailekh, Jajarkot, Kalikot, Jumla, Rolpa and Rukum .

Representatives of various bus operators said that the confusion surfaced due to the division within the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE), the umbrella organization of transport entrepreneurs, as to how to get the government to fulfill their demands.

As a result, some counters remained closed until Friday, as directed by FNNTE. 

According to Krishna Dahal, who heads the Kathmandu branch of the East-West Transport Entrepreneurs Association, some 20-25 bus committees opened their counters since Friday, in accordance with an agreement reached with the government.

“We want to clarify that many of the bus companies have already opened bookings and distribution of tickets for the big festival,” Dahal told Republica. But because of the confusion, the bus park which is usually bustling for weeks before Dashain was quiet and empty on Saturday.

Asked if there was an increase in the ticket prices, Dahal’s answer was negative. However, Dipesh Chaudhary, who booked a ticket to Bardiya, said the price had increased from Rs 1,300 last year to Rs 1,500. 

Gokarna Lamichane, an employee at Kakre Bihar Yatayat, said there are different alternatives when dealing with the government and making travelers suffer was not a right approach. “We sold 150 tickets to people headed for Dang”, Lamichane said. “They had come here to see if tickets were being distributed”. 

Ram Prasad Marasani, who arrived at the bus park at 2 in the morning to book tickets to Palpa, was disappointed. He was told that the tickets would be available only after September 25 because diesel prices could increase yet again. “This sort of uncertainty so close to Dashain is unacceptable”, an irritated Marasani complained. 

FNNTE remains divided over how to respond to the recent diesel price hike and pressuring the government. Many transportation companies demand that ticket prices be hiked as per the increased price of petroleum products.

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