Tuesday, October 23, 2018

First electric bus plies on Kathmandu road from today

After exactly one decade of demise of electric-cable operated Trollybus in Kathmandu, Sajha Yatayat today launched test operation of electric buses in the capital.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli inaugurated the first electric bus service by travelling on the bus from Sajha Yatayat head office premises in Pulchok to his office in Singha Durbar.
Sajha Yatayat chairperson Kanak Mani Dixit said the buses were to be operated in Lumbini but will instead run on Kathmandu roads without potholes until the Gautam Buddha International airport was completed in Bhairahawa.
Purchased with a Chinese company BYD at Rs 20 million each, the bus has 19 seats and can accommodate 35 passengers.
According to the executive director of Sajha Yatayat Bhusan Tuladhar, the bus service has begun operation under the South Asia Tourism Infrastructure Development Project supported by Asian Development Bank (ADB). Under the project, ADB has provided five buses to Lumbini Development Trust, out of which two were brought to Kathmandu to start operation and determine their functionality.
"The management of the electric buses – which are also disabled-friendly – will be carried out by Sajha Yatayat," he said, adding that electric buses have been brought into operation with the joint initiative of Lumbini Development Trust and Sajha Yatayat.
Launching the bus, the premier said that the government is promoting electric vehicles. "Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is also setting up charging stations at 20 different places," he said, adding that the government is committed to increasing the standard and quality of public vehicles.
Emphasising the role of private sector, he also urged the private sector in expansion of electric bus service.
Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari, on the occasion, said that construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport – also part of the ADB Project – will be completed within the next six months.
Earlier, China had gifted electric-cable operated trolleybus to Nepal in 1975. The trolleybus – running From Tripureshwor of Kathmandu to Suryabinayak of Bhaktapur – opened on December 28, 1975. But the only trolleybus system ever to be constructed in Nepal, suspended its operations – for almost two years – from December 19, 2001 to September 1, 2003 due to lack of regular power supply, maintenance, financial problem, red tape and political bickering. Though, the trolleybus restarted its service in 2003, it could not cover the complete route but remained only to half till Koteshwor. The operation of trolleybus was again suspended – for the final time – in late November 2008, and formally closed in November 2009.

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