As in previous Dashain, vehicles are few and far between on Kathmandu Valley roads. But that’s not the only factor that’s causing hardships to passengers on short routes. These vehicles are busy making hay while the Dashain sun shines by overcharging hapless passengers. Among those on the receiving end are students, who are not getting discount on transport fares.
Binita KC, a student of the Nobel College in Sinamangal is a case in point. She said she did not get discount on bus fare while travelling from Jadibuti to Sundhara on the day of tika. “As usual, I was expecting 45 per cent students’ discount. To my surprise, the conductor asked for more money instead of returning the change,” KC said.
After few minutes of argument with the conductor over the fare, the bus sped towards Ratnapark as no traffic police personnel was around, she said. Raghunath Khadka of Lokanthali, Madhyapur Thimi, said public vehicles owners were literally looting the general public during Dashain.
“I was forced to pay Rs 20 while travelling from Lokanthali to Thimi on Monday, whereas the actual fare for the distance is Rs 12,” said Khadka. Khadka demanded that authorities concerned monitor public vehicles during the festive season. “The consumers’ forum, traffic police, among others, should take action against the rule violators,” he said.
In the face of complaints from the general public, the Federation of National Transportation Entrepreneurs (FNTE), the umbrella organisation of transporters, has caught “around half a dozen public vehicles with their drivers and conductors for overcharging passengers during Dashain,” Dinesh Bhandari, the FNTE president, said.
“We will take action against them,” Bhandari said, clarifying that transporters had not fixed special transport fares for Dashain. We have started monitoring public vehicles after receiving complaints from the public, he said.
DSP Basanta Kumar Pant said traffic police personnel were deployed at major chowks, conceding that the personnel were stretched too thin during the festivities. “We have caught some vehicles at fault and taken action against them,” according to DSP Pant.