Monday, October 19, 2020

Government rolls back fare rates for public transportation

 The government has decided to roll back the fares for short- and long-distance public transportation services. 

A cabinet meeting – on October 12 – decided to retain the fare rates, which were in practice before March 24, confirmed the newly appointed government spokesperson and minister for Communication and Information Technology Parbat Gurung in his first press meet today.

The government had imposed the nationwide lockdown effective from March 24 to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “Transportation operators are not allowed to charge more,” Gurung said, adding that 

Though, the long-haul public transportation had resumed from September 17, though the lockdown was lifted on July 21 earlier this year, they have been charging 50 per cent more as they have been instructed to carry half the capacity of transportation. “Public vehicles were allowed to carry passengers only 50 per cent of their total capacity and in lieu charge an additional 50 per cent to the regular fare,” he said, adding that the cabinet meeting withdrew its previous decision. “The government has allowed public transport vehicles to carry passengers to their capacity, and charge the earlier fare too.”

However, the transport entrepreneurs have been charging the more – in long-and-short-haul – despite the government rollback of the fare.

Consumer rights activists, doctors and Kathmandu Valley Mayors’ Forum had criticised the government’s move, saying that carrying passengers without maintaining physical distance will fuel the transmission of Covid-19 among the public.

However, chairman of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE) Yogendra Karmacharya said that hardly 300 long-route buses are leaving the Valley these days. “As almost all of them are going empty, there is no need to worry of safety,” he said, accusing the government of puzzling bus operators with its decisions at this difficult time. "Transport operators had to keep their buses off the road for six months, now even during Dashain they are running empty.”

The transport entrepreneurs have been compelled to charge high as they are going empty even during Dashain unlike previous years, when the busses used to be less for festival travel, he added.

No comments: