The Department of Transport Management has asked public transport operators to open ticket reservations from the end of next week (Thursday or Friday) targeting the passengers leaving the Kathmandu Valley for the upcoming Dashain festival.
Transport operators, however, seem reluctant to open pre-booking of long-route bus tickets this time as they don’t expect a large number of people leaving the Valley this Dashain due to pandemic fears.
“This year also we have no plans to open pre-booking because we think not many people will leave the Valley owing to virus fears,” said Yogendra Karmacharya, president of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs.
Ghatasthapana, which marks the start of the 10-day Dashain festival falls this year on October 7.
Namaraj Ghimire, director general at the department, said his office asked transport operators to open pre-booking at a meeting last week.
“The matter has also been discussed with the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Ghimire. “We will hold further discussion, because sending people home safely to their families during Dashain is our concern,” said Ghimire.
Karmacharya of the transport federation, however, says, with just 35 percent of buses in operation and most of them running below their carrying capacity, he doesn’t see the need for opening pre-booking of tickets.
“And many people who had left for their hometowns due to the pandemic have not returned to Kathmandu,” said Karmacharya.
Just before the prohibitory orders were imposed in Kathmandu on April 29 after the second wave of Covid-19, a large number of people had left the Valley. The traffic police report showed an estimated 500,000 people had left the Valley just before the prohibitory orders were imposed.
While Karmacharya is of the view that not many people will be leaving the Capital this Dashain, Ghimire, the director general at the transport department, says it does not matter how many people leave the Valley.