KATHMANDU: Though seven studies have been carried out over the last 11 years to identify ways to properly manage public transport in Kathmandu valley, none of the recommendations of the study reports have been implemented yet.
Four studies were conducted with the support of Japan while Korea, China, and France each supported one study. Amid increasing public transport vehicles and poor road infrastructure, the government commissioned those studies to identify the root causes of the mismanagement of the transport system in the capital and roll out plans to resolve them.
Transport Engineer Sagar onta said the studies have covered a wide range of issues in the transport system and recommended necessary measures to put in place agile public transport. “However, no recommendation has been implemented so far,” said onta.
According to onta, whatever system is adopted to manage public transport has both good and bad sides. “Even though all parties have agreed to move to an integrated transportation system. But implementation is not still visible,” added onta.
Infrastructure policy expert, Kamal Raj Pandey, said public transportation can be managed, but the recommended infrastructure has not been implemented because there is no consensus among the stakeholders.
“A public transport system that is necessary, suitable, and effective for the valley should be chosen based on research and facts rather than in the interests of any individual or group,” said Pandey.
Public transport-related studies
1) Metro Feasibility Study, 2012 (Korea).
2) Public Transport Restructuring, 2014 (Japan)
3) Urban Transport Study, 2017 ( Japan)
4) Mass Transit Options Study, 2018 (Japan)
5) Monorail on the Ring Road, 2018 ( China )
6) Cable Car Feasibility Study, 2018 ( France)
7) Data Collection Survey, 2019 (Japan)
Both onta and Pandey said that special attention has to be paid to five issues to make the public transport system effective.
First, the private transportation operator should be included in the public transportation system. For that, the system can be developed and operated in a public-private model.
Second, a system that can be financially viable and operationally viable should be implemented. Investing in the transportation system without getting any return cannot be sustainable.
Third, the transportation system should not create any environmental or social problems. It should be environmentally sustainable and socially equitable. Likewise, common citizens should be able to use that system economically. They also said that the system should also be inclusive and gender friendly, operable, and maintainable.
Fourth, there should be government investment in public transportation. After public transportation, the government will also have to invest. According to transportation expert Pandey, relying solely on the private sector for transportation services will invite significant compromises in service quality. “Similarly, the public transport sector can be facilitated to attract foreign investment,” added Pandey.
Fifth, there should be an integrated and multi-modal transportation system as no single system can fulfill the requirement for a good public transport system. “To make the transportation system useful for all, a multi-system approach should be implemented. Examples include Metro, E-BRT, electric buses, and clean Tempo, among others,” Pandey further said.