Thursday, July 9, 2020

Government allows public vehicles including taxi service, within districts, hikes fare

The government has decided to resume public vehicles including taxi service within the districts and inside Kathmandu Valley after 108 days with enough safety measures, though it has also hiked the fare by 50 per cent.
“A cabinet meeting today decided to allow transport operators to resume public transportation in short route across the country with enough safety precautions but the lockdown restrictions, however, have not been lifted for long distance vehicles,” confirmed Communications and Information Technology minister and government spokesperson Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada. “They will have to comply with enough safety norms, including physical spacing on the seats, use of masks, vizers and gloves by the driver and driver’s assistant, installation of sanitiser dispensers, and disinfection of vehicles once a day,” he said, adding that the public vehicles can carry only half the capacity of the vehicle’s seat and not more and they can charge up to 50 per cent above the normal fare until the lockdown period is fully lifted.
The public transport operators – including taxi drivers – have been protesting against the government for not letting them operate vehicles as most of they have been unable to pay their bank installments due to lockdown since March 24. The government has imposed lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of covid-19 (coronavirus).
 Khatiwada also said that public transportation will be allowed to operate within the districts outside the valley and they will not be allowed to move from one district to another, except within the three districts of Kathmandu Valley. “Private vehicles will continue to operate on the odd-even modality as usual.”
The government has also allowed taxis to ply inside respective districts and within Kathmandu Valley. “Apart from the driver, two passengers – and a child below five years if of the same family – will only be allowed in the taxis,” he said,
The government has eased the short-distance public transport despite the number of coronavirus cases have been increasing at an alarming rate lately as the transport entrepreneurs have been forced to face severe economic hardship due to prolonged lockdown. Hundreds of taxi drivers had staged a protest in Kathmandu a few days ago demanding the government to allow them resuming the service.

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