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Govt prepares to increase transport fares

  Five-to-seven per cent increment in the offing

RAMESH SHRESTHA

KATHMANDU: The government has agreed to hike public transport fare after discussion with transport entrepreneurs today. Even as the government is yet to decide on the increment, it is estimated to range from five to seven per cent.

Citing fuel price hike, transporters have been demanding fare hike of 10-15 per cent. “We held a discussion on fare increment and a recommendation in this regard will be sent to the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport within a few days,” said Sarad Adhikari, technical director of the Department of Transport Management.

Monday’s meeting was held between DoTM officials and representatives of the Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs, the Federation of Truck, Tankers and Transport Entrepreneurs and the Nepal Meter Taxi Association. The DoTM is increasing all fares of all public transport vehicles, including cargo trucks, carriers and taxis.

To increase the fare, the DoTM has taken into consideration change in fuel prices and non-fuel components like bank interest rate, inflation, vehicle price, cost of spare parts, lubricants and staff salary.

Adhikari said before sending the recommendation to the MoPIT, the department would also take into consideration changes in annual vehicle tax announced through the budget of the current fiscal.

Currently, shortest ride on a public vehicle costs Rs 15. After the hike, it is likely to cost Rs 16. Cab ride will cost at least Rs 40 per km from existing Rs 37 and there will be no change in flag down cast that stands at Rs 14.

“Increment in bus, truck and tanker fares will be below six per cent, while taxi fare hike will not exceed seven per cent,” the source added.

Last year in March, the government had hiked the transport fare by nine per cent.

After a scientific transport fare fixing mechanism was implemented in 2009, the government has been determining fares on the basis of fuel price, which has been given a weightage of 35 per cent, and non-fuel price, which has been given a weightage of 65 per cent.

Meanwhile, the government has faced criticism for preparing to jack up fares as per the demand of transporters by neglecting to implement the previous plan of better managing the transport sector by removing vehicles that are over 20 years old.

“Likewise, moratorium on registration of new buses and taxis must be removed so there is fair competition in the market,” said Ram Bahadur Thapa, an independent activist who has been asking the government to restart the registration of new vehicles and end syndicate in the transport sector.

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