The government is all set to extend a gift of transport fare hike to commuters this Dashain, neglecting directive issued by the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority to revise fares based on practices in South Asian countries.
This decision is expected to raise transport bill of hundreds of thousands of people who visit their home towns or villages during the festival using public vehicles.
Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, said there would be upward revision in the fare very soon. “Going by the schedule, it has already been late, so we will raise the fares soon,” he added.
Sitaula’s statement indicates that the fares could be revised before September 10, when advance bookings for the festive season open.
To expedite the process of introducing revised fares, the MoPIT approved new fares proposed by the Department of Transport Management yesterday.
If DoTM’s proposal is implemented as it is, the cost of commuting by taxi and other public vehicles, and ferrying goods using cargo carriers will go up by up to seven per cent.
This means rides on routes up to 4 km will cost Rs 16 more than existing Rs 15. Transport fares on long routes will also go up accordingly.
For instance, bus fare to Biratnagar from Kathmandu will increase to Rs 1,098 from Rs 1,026. Similarly, a commuter travelling from the capital to Nepalgunj will have to pay Rs 1,078, up from existing Rs 1,008.
However, no change has been proposed for flag down cost of taxis which stands at Rs 14, while per km cost of cab ride will go up from Rs 37 to around Rs 40.
This decision to raise fares, however, goes against the instruction issued by the CIAA in 2010 which called for revision in public transport fares based on the practices in South Asian countries.
An official at the DoTM acknowledged that fares were being revised without heeding CIAA’s call. “But what can we do as the Ministry of Finance has not allocated budget to conduct the study,” the official said.
The DoTM revises fares scientifically by taking into consideration change in fuel prices and non-fuel components like bank interest rate, inflation, vehicle price, cost of spare parts and lubricants, and staff salary.
The government had last hiked the fares in March 2013.