KATHMANDU, Nov 21: Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project (KSUTP) and a group of microbus and three-wheeler operators have entered into series of agreements to replace microbuses and three-wheelers with larger buses.
The agreements are aimed at reducing pollution and traffic congestion in the Kathmandu Valley. The microbus and three-wheeler operators have formed 'Digo Sahari Yatayat Pvt Limited' to operate buses on Sinamangal-Ratna Park-Gongabu route. Owners of microbuses and three-wheelers are promoters of the new company.
Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project is funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
According to transport entrepreneurs, they will bring 17 mid-sized buses to replace 50 microbuses and 11 three wheelers.
Excessive number of vehicles has been a key cause of traffic congestion and pollution in the valley. Replacing small public vehicles with larger ones could be a breakthrough in reducing congestion and the risk of health hazards among general public due to pollution.
“This pilot project allows the government to take a step for reducing traffic and carbon emissions in the Valley,” Bimal Subedi, deputy project director of Kathmandu Sustainable Urban Transport Project which releases the budget to the newly formed company via Town Development Fund. Subedi further explained: “The pilot project will allow passengers to travel between Sinamangal and Gongabu on the same bus. As buses will be provided to registered companies, service will be more professional.”
The project has also already provided heavy vehicles driving training to drivers of three-wheelers.
Talking to Republica, Ananta Acharya, project director of the KSUTP and Director General of Department of Railways, said that the company will bring 17 Euro III or Euro IV standard buses with 25 seats with space to accommodate 25 more standing passengers.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) along with Global Environment Facility (GEF) has provided both loan financing and grants for the company that will run buses in the 8-kilometer route. The assistance will be provided through Town Development Fund under the KSUTP.
The agreement is expected to be a new move for establishing a company to provide public transportation service by replacing individually-owned vehicles. The project has provided ADB has provided 15 percent grant to the company to buy buses. Moreover, it is providing up to 80 percent of the cost of vehicles as loan. The loan carries interest rate of 5 percent.
The project aims to replicate success of this pilot project throughout the valley and reduce transportation route from existing 200 to 66 routes.