People wasting their time on Travelling

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The people like me have to struggle daily in riding on public transportation means. Due to non dependable, uncomfortable and risky transportation vehicles, people are wasting most of their time travelling.

The problem is total lack of coordination in something that is similar to an anarchic industry where micro bus owners just think about cutting a profit out of common people ‘discomfort.

In order to travel 7 to 8 km distance, it takes more than an hour to reach destination. In my case, I have to waste approximately two hours in a day for reaching home to office and office to home.

 On top of that, most of the buses and micros are uncomfortable; too many people are adjusted, dirty and stinky. Even the travel fares are fluctuating everyday and charge according to their wish. In comparison to other people, I am lucky to get buses/micros easily from the place I live. Other people, they have to wait for hours of hours just to carry on those buses. These public transportations are mostly managed privately and individually without coordination. They choose their own route and start taking their passengers. Due to this situation, there are no adequate vehicles in some of the routes. Thus, people struggle on vehicles to reach their destinations every day.

More recently, Kathmandu is carrying the vehicles beyond its capacity. Here are too many public vehicles as well as too many private motors. Mainly there are still large numbers of old vehicles which are running in poor conditions. These vehicles are affecting firstly by adding more numbers and secondly, polluting the city. Not only this, due to large numbers of vehicles, people suffer huge traffic congestion daily. The most pressing traffic areas in Kathmandu are Kalanki, Balkhu, Kalimati, Teku, Thapathali, Chabahil and way to go Maharajgunj.

Should we think about the solutions on how to improve and create an organized transportation system? I think first of all, it is very much important to form a semi-private company partnering with government to ensure good public transport system in Nepal. The owners of vehicles can have their share and start working having good coordination with government and among themselves.

Such a change would help to create a new public transportation system with new rules and policies.

For example the current micro bus owners could not only own the shares of this new company and the same time they could work as drivers with new enhanced common standards and practices under the new company banner.

Being the co-owners of the new company, they will give their best while working behind the wheel. The company could be either full for profit, not for profit or cooperative.

This new player could drastically change the current public transportation system, winning the trust of the commuters, avoiding all the risks and hazards by offering safe and reliable rides. Moreover if all the drivers of micro rally behind this idea, a non cash payment system could be created with monthly or annual subscription. Use of mobile based technologies could enhance the travel experience including electronic payments. But this is very far from our reality; we could reach this level slowly and step by step.  Let’s think about practical ways to systematize the public transportation system NOW.

This new Company could invest on bringing modern, less polluting and comfortable public vehicles that delivers proper service to the public.

A good example could be Sajha Yatayat, government initiative. It is Nepal’s one and only well organized and systematic transport system. Unfortunately Sajha Yatayat is still at the beginning of its second life and despite the challenges; it is trying its best. Of course Sajha Yatayat needs to “multiply” its fleet and offer new routes that can cover the entire valley. Hopefully this will happen and it is encouraging to see the green buses moving around the town.

I sincerely hope more business people will be interested to invest in the public transportation system offering new services to enhance citizens’ mobility. Yet even with a new semi public company uniting all micro’s drivers or with new ventures like Sajha Yatayat, the Government or better the Kathmandu Metropolitan City administration should double its efforts. It is a pity that the night bus that recently was restarted after a long gap is not properly advertised. How can we expect the night bus to be economically feasible if people do not even know about it? How can we win the trust of users?

Marketing through radio, newspapers plays a very crucial role in inducing more citizens to use public transportation. Even Sajha Yatayat could do more to better advertise and inform about its services. Marketing can strongly enhance the demand of public transportation if adequate standards are met.

Having said to all this, we can imagine Nepal having very nice, systematic and dependable public transport system, where the private vehicles’ users will start preferring to subscribe to public transport. As a result, people will stop buying private cars/motors and will happily use a new reinvigorated public transportation system.

Hopefully the day will come when people won’t need to struggle while travelling using their time in a more productive way. Let’s start thinking about the street of the Valley with no more micros…


Position: Program Manager

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