Not so express bus service
The country’s first bus rapid transit lane, between Bhaktpur’s Suryabinayak and Kathmandu’s Ratnapark, was inaugurated on Sept 20. It was introduced with an aim of providing express passenger transfer service during office-time rush hour, from 9–11 am and 4–6 pm.
Authorities claim with the BRT, the 13.5 km commute between Suryabinayak and Ratnapark, which usually takes up to two hours under normal traffic conditions, will take just 45 minutes.
During the service hour, vehicles other than designated buses, ambulances, fire brigade, and emergency vehicles are not allowed to drive on the lane, marked with red paint.
The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has planned to deploy 25 buses on the BRT lane, and they will depart at an interval of every five minutes.
I recently decided to hop on one of the express buses and experience the service, and I was surprised to see that many motorists are still unaware of the BRT. Non-designated vehicles were still traveling on the lane during the service hours.
I asked my bus driver if he had noticed any changes with the BRT service. “Barely,” he told me. “In the initial days traffic, police personnel were deployed to clear the lane, but they have stopped doing so.”
The problem of traffic congestion remains unchanged.“What’s the point of introducing this service if it cannot be implemented,” the driver said. I wondered the same thing after getting off on my stop.
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