Our passenger transport services

As if after a deep slumber for many years, it was surprising to come across the recent notification issued by the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA)on the rules and rates that were to be followed for the carriage of luggage in passenger transport services.

The notification articulates that a passenger is allowed to carry 20 Kgs of luggage while travelling in a passenger transport service and that an extra charge of Chhetrum 10/kilogram/kilometer will be charged for carriage of extra luggage. It also mentions that unaccompanied parcel shall be charged at the same rate of Chhetrum 10/kilogram/kilometer.

Further, it is stated that transportation of vegetables, fish, poultry items, other meat items and other goods meant for commercial purpose shall be prohibited, and that the maximum permissible luggage weight is 1,000 Kgs for Medium bus and 1,500 Kgs for Heavy bus.

The rules in the notification are nothing new per se. But what has made RSTA to come up with this notification at this time as if it’s an urgent one? Despite the rules that have been there and that will be there, the question that many seem to be asking is who is monitoring such things? Is it even implemented? We have many problems that come with our passenger transport services.

Our bus services are erratic even if the departure time is clearly mentioned on the ticket. Leaving late by five or ten minutes is okay. And right after the buses make way out of the bus station, it has become a norm for some to pick up whatever extra passengers it might find along the way. It is nothing new for two or more passengers to share a seat together. Some would be sitting on the bus floor or luggage would be stacked that makes even getting out difficult. But who is monitoring?

And in some cases, it’s not uncommon to see enormous luggage being loaded on top of the buses, especially buses enroute to long distances. It appears as if one bus is loaded on top of another. And more than the luggage of passengers from those buses coming from border towns like Phuentsholing, it is vegetables and other commercial goods that some pickups load from the bus station and ferry to the shops in the vegetable market. But who is monitoring?

And in some cases, it’s not uncommon to see bus drivers, who would be fidgeting their fingers over the phone, and taking and making numerous calls as they drive. Ask the charge for ferrying an envelope or cartoon to a place ‘A’, one shouldn’t be astonished if the rates are the same. And in some buses, there is nothing like lunch timing. Lunch may be too early or it may be too late, but that depends again on the bus driver. But who is monitoring?