KATHMANDU: Relevant officials and stakeholders suggested that the government immediately roll out measures to improve the chaotic traffic system in Kathmandu valley. Participating in an interaction held in the capital on Thursday, they expressed concern over the apathetic attitude of the government towards upgrading public transport, which is the lifeline for commuting by low-income people in the capital.
The chief secretary of the government, Shankardas Bairagi, said that the lack of the scientific classification of routes is the main reason for disorganized public transport in urban areas. “The travel time is increasing due to the mismanaged public transport. The consumption of petroleum products is also increasing,” Bairagi added.
According to Bairagi, currently, 80 percent of two-wheelers registered in the country, are operating in the valley. However, large-sized vehicles, which can carry more passengers, are in fewer numbers compared to two-wheelers.
Bairagi also emphasized the need to increase the number of electric vehicles in big cities and set up charging stations as a priority.
“It would be better to carry out the commitments made on the international forum. Nepal has been making a commitment to increase the number of electric vehicles internationally,” said Bairagi.
Bairagi also expressed dissatisfaction over the progress in improving public transport though several studies were carried out in this regard in the past.
The mayor of Lalitpur Metropolis, Chiribabu Maharjan, also said no concrete breakthrough has been achieved though there have been many discussions about the improvement of the transport system in the capital.
“We will face more difficult times in traffic and transport management in big cities if concrete plans are not rolled out and implemented immediately,” said Maharjan.
In the program, the Secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Gopal Sigdel, said that due to the lack of development of the city based on planning, the public transport operation has become unmanageable.
“Underground metro rail system can be an effective means of transportation to improve public transport in Kathmandu Valley. Likewise, the rapid bus system can also be effective for Kathmandu but a huge investment is required for the implementation of such a public transport system,” he added.
Suresh Acharya, Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, said that new smart cities are being developed in Kathmandu Valley and the establishment of a systematic public transport system has become a priority. Passengers need public transportation to ensure they reach their destination easily.
Madanbandhu Regmi, head of the Transport Studies and Policy Branch of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(UNESCAP), said that the epidemic has also increased the importance of public transport in recent years.