KATHMANDU, July 22: Transport entrepreneurs on Thursday staged a protest in the Kathmandu Valley, demanding the province and local governments enforce the new fares in line with the revised transport fares by the federal government last week.
Due to the protest, vehicular movement on the ring road in the Valley has been disrupted. According to transport entrepreneurs, they had to come to protest after the sub-national governments expressed their apathy to revise the rate on time.
The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) hiked the public transport fares by 28 percent effective from July 14. “However, as many transport services are under the jurisdiction of either provincial or the local governments, the new fares have not been fully implemented due to the delay at the sub-national levels,” Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of the National Federation of Nepali Transport Entrepreneurs, told Republica.
Denying an active role of the federation in Thursday’s protest, Sitaula said mainly the operators of taxi services launched the protest. He however said that they have also been lobbying with the provincial governments to bring into effect the new fares as soon as possible.
The DoTM said it has revised the fares based on the existing “scientific” mechanism that the government and the transport entrepreneurs had agreed upon around a decade ago. According to the agreement, the hike in transport fares is determined based on 35 percent increase in fuel and 65 percent rise in non-fuel factors. Non-fuel components include bank interest rates, cost of spare parts, staff salary and administrative and maintenance costs.
According to the DoTM, the fares were last revised on September 23, 2018. Sitaula however claimed that the public transport fares have stood still since 2013. “It has been almost nine years that we have had to rely on the old fares set by the government despite significant increases in the cost of operation of public transport over the time,” he added.
The protestors not only disrupted the vehicular movement on the ring road but they are also reported to have severely beaten the riders of Pathao, a ride-sharing service, expressing their agitation against the government authorities.