Pre-feasibility study on city bus priority lane underway

Urban planner says that the priority lanes will be constructed if the study of the project is positive

With increasing number of vehicles and traffic congestion especially in the capital, Thimphu Thromde has extended the city bus services in the capital, making it very convenient for those who do not have a vehicle of their own to move around the city. In addition to this, Thimphu Thromde is carrying out a study on the country’s very first city bus priority lane. However, chief urban planner, urban planning division, Thimphu Thromde, Thinley Norbu said that at the moment nothing concrete has come out.
“The pre-feasibility study is being carried out at the moment and nothing concrete has come out at this juncture,” said Thinley Norbu adding that if the study comes out positive, then it shall be the very first initiative in the country to create a city bus priority lane.
One of the areas under the feasibility study include the Babesa to Dechencholing route via the swimming pool highway and Jungshina. “If the plan goes as we have thought about, this will be the very first initiative in the country,” officials from Thimphu Thromde said.
One of the main reasons for this is to ensure that buses reach destinations in time. “Once such a lane comes up, city buses will be able to carry passengers on time and the reliability factor will improve,” said the chief urban planner, Thinley Norbu, adding that this will encourage the use of the public transport.
The chief also said that with such priority lanes, the import of fossil fuel will be reduced together with the import of vehicle spare parts. “It will also reduce air pollution, infrastructure maintenance and the travel time of the commuters,” Thinley said.
However, Thinley Norbu said that such priority lanes, may create traffic congestion for other vehicles.
“Although the creation of a city bus priority lane will make the travel faster for commuters, chance are there that such an initiative might create some traffic congestion along the right lanes reserved for other vehicles.”
Meanwhile, there are hundreds of dedicated commuters in the capital who use the city bus service including office going individuals, students, and public, amongst others.
A daily commuter, Tshering Dorji said that the city bus priority lane in the capital is great news. “It will be a great initiative as it will reduce time and save time especially for the office going people who use the city bus service.”
Another commuter said that such initiative by Thimphu Thromde is required . “It is a great initiative and a welcome move if there is enough space to develop such lanes, which can be used for emergency services too,” he said.
However, some opine that though the creation of the lanes it is a good initiative, Thimphu Thromde could improve the existing services such as timing of the buses, road infrastructure and other priority areas in improving city bus services, amongst others.
“It is a great initiative but if the project is not planned well then it will just cause inconvenience to the commuters and there will be more traffic congestion rather than a good and smooth traffic,” said Tshewang, a daily city bus commuter.
Meanwhile, Thinley Norbu said that the Thromde is conducting a pre-feasibility study on the city bus priority lane and if the study of the project comes positive then only the initiative will it be undertaken.
As per records of the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA), now known as Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA), as of December 31, 2022, there were 125,534 vehicles in Bhutan. From this, 68,760 are in Thimphu.

Sherab Dorji from Thimphu