KATHMANDU, April 19: Seventeen mid-sized buses were set to run across Kathmandu streets from the first day of New Year 2075 BS.
However, the buses, which would have replaced 26 microbuses and 35 three-wheelers, are nowhere to be seen in the capital city.
The Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project (KSUTP) had signed agreements with a group of microbus and three-wheeler operators to replace microbuses and three-wheelers by mid-sized buses. A company -- Digo Sahari Yatayat Pvt Ltd - has already been registered to provide bus service in the capital city. But the process has been delayed.
“Earlier, we had decided to bring 2017 model of TATA Ultra buses. However, as the company is introducing 2018 model of TATA Ultra buses, we felt it would be wise to wait for a couple of months,” Lal Prasad Guragain, secretary of Digo Sahari Yatayat Pvt Ltd, said. He added that buses will arrive in Nepal by mid-May and pressed into operation by mid-June.
“Our aim is to start bus service on Gongabu-Sinamangal route, passing through Lainchour, Vishwa Jyoti Cinema Hall, Kamal Pokhari and Maitidevi, from the first week of Jestha (mid-June). The buses will complete the distance in 45 minutes to one hour.”
The 23-seat buses can accommodate 27 more standing passengers. The commencement of bus service is also expected to curb traffic congestion in the valley to some extent by replacing 61 smaller vehicles.
“The buses will support digital payment system. Passengers can swipe prepaid cards to pay transportation fare,” he said, adding that the buses will also have telecommunication facilities.
The floor of these buses is lower than other bus plying the streets of Kathmandu, making it more accessible to differently-able individuals in addition to being compatible for wheelchairs. Additionally, the GPS system fitted to the buses will keep constant track about the whereabouts of the bus, while the use of CCTV camera will minimize pick-pocketing and help bus staffers to track down items that were left in bus as well has curb any forms of harassments inside the bus.
The total cost of 17 buses is around Rs 70 million, according to Guragain.
“But total cost of the project will be around Rs 100 million, includes the cost of building a garage and bus stops (Rs 20 million) as well as other equipment (Rs 6 million) to be fitted in the bus,” he added.