Sajha Yatayat is all set to operate 30 newly imported buses on routes of the Kathmandu Valley by mid-November this year.
Sajha Yatayat had purchased the 30 buses two months ago with help from the Kathmandu Metropolitan City, which invested a share of Rs. 100,000,000 to buy the buses from Mumbai, India.
“The 30 buses will be operated on Valley routes after acquiring routes permit from the Department of Transport Management within mid-November,” Acting Chief Executive Officer at Sajha Yatayat Mahendra Raj Pandeya told The Himalayan Times, “We have completed all preparation to add more buses in the same routes where Shajha buses have been plying for the last three years.”
Despite demands from service seekers to have more buses ply new routes, Sajha Yatayat is yet to do so. “We will first add the new buses to existing routes before expanding to new routes,” Pandeya said.
With the new 30 buses, Sajha Yatayat will have a total of 42 buses in the urban transport sector. Sajha Yatayat will also reportedly expand its services to other routes outside the Valley after the 30 buses are operational within the Valley. Sajha had revived daily long route services to Gorkha, Baglung, Lumbini, and Birgunj from Kathmandu before Dashain.
The buses, that are greener than Sajha’s older buses built by TATA company and have two disabled-friendly seats each, were built by Mumbai-based Ashok Leyland limited and purchased at Rs 3.5 million each.
The new buses also have more than 40 bucket seats, wide standing spaces, CCTV camera supervision, and a television. Sajha Yatayat also plans to launch e-ticketing services and a Sajha Yatayat location tracker app very soon.
The KMC hopes that the buses will give respite to the general public compelled to travel in public vehicles packed above capacity and make commuting easier during rush hours.
Sajha Yatayat signed an agreement with India’s Ashok Leyland Limited on March 24 this year. Sajha claimed that each bus has a capacity of carrying more than 100 passengers at a time, including those standing on the aisle.
Currently, 12 Sajha buses have been plying on three different routes for the past three years. Sajha Yatayat’s immediate goals are to revive its operations in the Valley, increase public goodwill and visibility, and maximize sustainability, while developing a more profitably restructured entity as its medium and long-term goals.
Sajha Yatayat, a cooperative public transportation organisation, was established in 1961/62 to provide efficient and affordable public transportation to commuters in Kathmandu Valley and inter-district travellers. In the last decade, the organisation suffered some institutional turbulence, but has now been revived with help from the government.