Motorized vehicles have increased in Kathmandu tremendously in recent years. Although it is a sign of urbanization and economic development, it is creating mobility problems through traffic congestion and frequent road accidents. Now, time has come to focus on traffic management; one of the efficient tools of traffic management is to prioritize public transport and develop sustainable transportation systems. New regulations need to be developed and implemented immediately to encourage public transport and to discourage the use of private vehicles.Otherwise, people will suffer from everyday traffic congestions and
road accidents. In Kathmandu more than 700,000 motorized vehicles are in operation.
In the present context, immediate development of metro or rail is out of reach; so, the best option is to
develop integrated bus transit as a means of mass
transit. Good public transportation systems are an
essential part of safe, clean, reliable and affordable means of mobility. Public transport provides better accessibility to the poor as well as rich people and
improves their livelihood opportunities. Mobility is the basic need to have
access to education, hospitals, social activities (visiting friends and relatives) and recreation. For senior citizens, the disabled and
children, public transport
is the only means for
For urban space, public transport is more efficient than private vehicles. For
instance, a bus carrying
40-50 people uses only
2.5 times more road space than a car carrying 1-2 people. But the same bus
consumes only about 3 times more fuel than a car (Kyte, Rachel, 2012). Thus, public transport is important to improve sustainable mobility. It helps in traffic management, reducing the number of vehicles on road and it also saves fuel
consumption as well reducing emission. The problems in the increase of urban population, rising fuel prices, increase in traffic congestion and accidents, rising infrastructure development costs, and limited space could be solved through the development of public transport.
Bus transit must be developed in Kathmandu for sustainable traffic management. Infrastructure development is a temporary solution while development of public transport is a permanent solution and development of public transport is the major component of traffic management. Recently, night buses have been in operation in
Kathmandu, which is a goodstep toward developing public transport. It will reduce the dependency on private vehicles and increases attraction toward public transport.
Public transport must be safe, reliable, clean and cheaper than private vehicles. Many developing countries like Colombia, Brazil, Nigeria, and India (specifically, Ahmedabad) have well developed bus transits. Kathmandu needs to learn and implement
the same principles to
improve urban mobility.
In the context of Nepal, public bus transit is the
only viable option to ensure well-developed public transport.
Good public transport
incorporates multiple state-of-the-art technologies. Kathmandu needs to develop the ‘integrated’ bus transit to improve mobility.
Integrated bus transit starts with the systematic and
scientific replacement of small capacity vehicles
(micro and mini busses, auto rickshaw) to save road spaces. The vehicles need
to be attractive, easy to board and comfortable to travel. The fare collection technology should encourage passengers to use a
single fare card. The
provision of a day/week/month/year
ticket should be developed. The fare collection systems need to be quicker, secure, efficient and simple.
In case of multiple bus operators, tickets should be an integrated one, so that passengers do not need to buy tickets every time they interchange. The time schedule of each bus in each route should be fixed. There should be good interconnection between different routes. The headway time and transformation between routes should be shorter. The bus stops need to be well developed with shelters and route/time schedule information displayed, allowing people to board the bus quickly.
It is also important to schedule service so that demand is reasonably met with the least consumption of resources. According to sources, SajhaYatayat is resuming service shortly in Kathmandu Valley, which is a good step toward progressing towards mass transit. It is important for SajhaYatayat to follow the above mentioned features of public transport to
establish itself as a form of mass transit.
In times where people have no faith on public transport, SajhaYatayat could help promote the use public transport though its proper services. Public bus must ensure increasing service (frequent service),
improved service (comfort, convenient, reliable), incentives to use public vehicles (lower fare, security),
and transit oriented development (compact, proper land use).
Gajurel is Transport & Traffic Consultant