– Sanchita Ghimire
Kathmandu, September 12: Electric bus has come into operation for the first time in the country. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Ishwar Pokharel inaugurated two electric buses brought by Sundar Yatayat yesterday.
Each bus costing Rs 16.2 million has 60 seats. The Yatayat, the public transport company operating the buses, has acquired permission to operate the vehicles on the Ring Road for now. The company has already inaugurated the charging stations last week for operating the buses.
It is said since no separate fare for the electric bus has been fixed, the same fare that is applied to the petrol and diesel-run buses would be applicable. However, a 20 percent concession would be available on the use of electronic cards. On the occasion, DPM Pokharel rode the bus from Nepal Police Club at Pradarshani Marga to Ratna Park via Sahid Gate and Sundhara. After the bus ride, he said the bus was comfortable and appropriate in the context of Nepal.
“The bus is appropriate both from the viewpoint of environment and economy,” he said. Stating that it is a big thing to give continuity to the good works that have been initiated, DPM Pokharel said the Sundar Yatayat has done a good job fitting to its name Sundar meaning beautiful. He added that although obstacles might be created from different sides while trying to carry out better works, one should not step back. “You might face challenges in the coming days as well, but you should move ahead without losing courage,” he said.
Chairman of Sundar Yatayat Pvt Ltd, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa shared that they have been able to operate the electric buses after nearly nine months’ efforts. As he said, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was positive regarding their proposal to operate electric bus and the name ‘Sundar’ was as per his suggestion. He said the Pvt Ltd has a plan to move ahead with the operation of the electric buses by facing up to the various challenges that might come along the way. He pointed out that lack of separate law on the electric bus was one of the problems.
“We have been urging the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Department of Transport Management to bring the policy at the earliest,” Thapa shared on the occasion. Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Dinesh Kumar Ghimire said the ministry has an action plan to construct 20 charging stations. Electricity production is increasing in Nepal and the government has the goal of increasing the consumption of electricity within the country.
He urged other investors to also bring electric vehicles and support the government’s plan. “We can increase electricity consumption in the transport sector, for cooking purposes and meeting other energy needs,” he said.
Social campaigner Mahabir Pun said electric buses were environmentally and economically appropriate mode of public transport. Service to be extended Sundar Yatayat has said the electric bus service would be expanded. In this connection, the company has signed an agreement with a Chinese company for bringing 11 more such buses. It aims to bring 50 electric buses within this year. The Pvt Ltd, which has 81 share members, plans to operate electric buses in State 1 and State 5 along with Kathmandu valley. Sajha Yatayat preparing to buy electric buses.
The Sajha Yatayat is preparing to purchase electric buses in partnership with the three levels of governments. The government had bought Sajha’s shares worth Rs 3 billion and the State 3 government shares worth 300 million two months back for buying 300 electric buses for the Sajha Yatayat. Likewise, Kathmandu Metropolitan City had bought the Sajha’s shares worth Rs 100 million for the same purpose.
Sajha Yatayat, a cooperative, has said it was studying the various technical issues as the type of bus, its capacity, and other matters when it buys the electric buses with this amount. Sajha Yatayat’s manager Mahendra Pandey said they plan to bring a few buses by mid-May 2020. Trolley bus becomes history now Meanwhile, the trolley bus that was in operation until a decade back in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur has become history of the new generation.
The trolley bus was operated with the support of the government of China. The trolley bus service was operated on December 29, 1975. The trolley bus service that served the people of Kathmandu for three decades was completely shut down in 2066 BS. The bus was operated on 13 kilometers road from Kathmandu to Surya Binayak of Bhaktapur. RSS