KATHMANDU, March 11: Issuing a fresh public notice today, the Department of Transport Management under the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport banned the use private vehicles for public transport.
The move has indirectly restricted popular ride hailing services Pathao and Tootle currently operating in Kathmandu Valley. In its notice, the department threatened to take action against those violating this ban.
The department's decision comes a day after taxi drivers in Kathmandu staged sit-in in front of the department demanding the ban on the use of private vehicles for public transport.
The section 8 of the Motor vehicles and Transportation Management Act (1993) states that private motor vehicles cannot be used for public transport. Similarly, according to Section 12, vehicles registered for one purpose cannot be used for some other purpose.
Earlier last year, the department also tried to ban the ride-hailing services in Kathmandu saying that they were not registered. However, amid public outcry against the ban, the department backtracked on its decision. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had also ordered the government authorities not to ban the use of the ride hailing services.
Ordinary people who have been using ride hailing service have also taken strong exception to the new ban.
People are of the view that the ride hailing services are not only customer-friendly but also highly affordable. "The government should come up with new rules to streamline them if necessary rather than an outright ban,” said Yogesh Dhakal, who uses Tootle on a regular basis.