If you really want to get a feel of the pulse of Kathmandu, Nepal, try local transportation like public buses, battery run three wheelers. You could even try rides on local rickshaws, ponies or bullock-carts where they’re available. For some quick sightseeing as well as time-saving, rickshaw is the best.

Government run green buses known as Sajha Bus are comfortable and run along the north-south and east-west main roads of the valley. These buses stop only at designated bus stops, therefore, one has to identify the nearest Sajha bus stop to be able to board one. Other buses are also available for transportation to different parts of the valley.

The Penny War

A penny war, an unhealthy competition between public transportation service providers that would kill hundreds of people every year in accidents caused by buses scrabbling to collect passengers.

Since the drivers of public buses made their living from the fare collected from the passenger, they used to fight with each other for every passenger in the road, resulting in unsafe driving and unreliable service.

New Private Company brings in new hope ?

Almost a year ago, after the government of Nepal announced the termination of the syndicate system of public transportation, one new private company entered this sector with big promises in one popular route.

The promises this company made were things like free wi-fi, competitive fares, timely services, an efficient ticket system were barely fulfilled

Even worse, the bus company has contracted out their buses to their ‘staff’ on a daily basis and the staff pay some amount to bus company and, in return, can run the buses as they like. The result is irregular and irresponsible bus service.

The root cause of the penny war

The root cause of the penny war is this poor fare collection system with no record of how much tariff is collected by the conductor. The more fare they collect, the more the cut of the conductor and driver is. This then leads to unhealthy and risky competition.

Boarding and alighting off the bus is dangerous in such a scenario and sometimes passengers have to get in and out of moving vehicles.

Possible Resolutions

Introduce a mass rapid transit system, which will provide efficient and reliable service through reduced travel times, wider networks, and faster boarding and disembarking methods. However, with the current economic situation in Nepal, financing a mass rapid transit system is almost impossible.

Introduce an automatic fare collection may be possible to help to standardize the fare. This will avoid the manipulation of the drivers so that the penny war can be eliminated.

The writer has over 19 years of related industry experience. To learn more of build an automatic fare collection system for the under-developing countries, please visit autofare.net

Post Author: Keith Lau

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