School buses to carry passengers in Dashain if needed

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The government has geared up for an alternative after apathy by transport entrepreneurs in opening the advanced ticket booking for the passengers returning home to celebrate the upcoming Dashain festival.

The Department of Transport Management (DoTM), the Private and Boarding Schools' Organization of Nepal (PABSON) and Sajha Yatayat have held discussion in this regard. 

PABSON has said that it will make all the school buses available if necessary.

Department Spokesperson Dr Tokraj Pandey informed that discussion has been held to make school buses available for the festival after the transport entrepreneurs did not fulfill their responsibility.

"The DoTM has pledged not to trouble the commuters at a time of festival," he said, "If the entrepreneurs continue to show such attitude, Sajha, private schools and government offices have assured to operate their buses to help the commuters reach their destinations."

Reminding that the private school buses in the Kathmandu Valley were operated during the post-quake period in 2015 with an aim to make commuters easier, General Secretary of PABSON Rajendra Baniya said the private schools are ready even now to make the buses available.

"If the government urges us to operate the school buses, we are ready to provide our buses," he said, "We are ready to provide services at free for the travelers if the government manages fuel and remuneration to the bus drivers."

Stating that it is upto the transport entreprenurs and the DoTM to operate pssenger buses, he said PABSON wishes that advanced booking opens soon after agreement between the two parties.

"We do not wish to hamper the business of ransport entrepreneurs. The DoTM has to address their genuine demands. And the transport entrepreneurs too should not deprive the passengers from their rights to travel by putting forth unnecessary demands."

Baniya revealed that there are around 10,000 buses, including 5,000 rented ones, with the schools affiliated to PABSON and added that the 5,000 buses owned by the schools can be used to provide service to commuters.

Similarly, DoTM informed that Sajha Yatayat has also agreed to provide additional buses during the festival. Sajha Yatayat had operated its buses to Sunauli, Birgunj and Gorkha even during the last Dashain.  

A meeting of meeting of Director General of Department, Chief of Metropolitan Police Division, Deputy Inspector General of Nepal Police, and top office-bearers of Transport Entrepreneurs Federation and consumers earlier on September 1, had decided to open advanced booking from September 7. However, the transport entrepreneurs refused to do so citing poor conditions of roads and demanding that they be allowed to put carriers on roof of the vehicles to carry luggage.