Premium bus service in the offing

Two private public transport companies will start luxurious bus service to and from Phuentsholing to Thimphu

Within this month, commuters along the Phuentsholing-Thimphu National Highway will have better choice to travel as premium buses are expected to hit the road.

Two private public transport companies will start luxurious bus service unlike the normal bus service of today. It will be more comfortable with added facilities and will ply on the highway.  Two services daily will initially start to and from Phuentsholing to Thimphu and one from Phuentsholing to Siliguri in India. 

Dophu Transport and Travels Service and Meto Transport Service, two prime public transport services in the country, have planned to start the service. The bus manufactured by Japanese company, Mitsubishi, is more comfortable, according to the service providers.

Ugyen Dophu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dophu Transport and Travel Service said people have been using the old mode and as a transport company, he feels that the time has come to offer luxurious services to commuters and option to choose the type of transport. Citing better road conditions from Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway, the companies decided to launch the service. “We believe that the bus is standard and driven by groomed drivers for safety,” he said.

The premium bus service will also have different counters where the luggage will be tagged for  safety and taken care of by the crews unlike the other normal buses. Luggage will be loaded and unloaded and delivered to the passengers. There will also be online ticketing facilities for commuters to confirm the tickets reducing time spent on buying tickets.

Also there will be special lounges at the stations and stopovers for the passengers to take rest before and after travelling. Mineral water will also be available for every passenger during the ride. Coffee and refreshments will also be served at a price. 

Also, the premium bus service will reserve two front seats for senior citizens with 5% discount daily. It will be reserved until 30 minutes before departure. “It will be our gesture of gratitude for using our service for decades,” Ugyen Dophu said.

However, the price of a ticket has not been fixed and will be done when the service is formally launched. The current ticket price for normal bus is Nu 270. Ugyen Dophu said the price is regulated by the Road safety and Transport Authority. He expects the rate to not exceed Nu 500.

Sangay Dorji, Chief Operating Officer of Meto Transport, another travel service company, said the ticket price will depend upon the bus type. “If the seats are more then there will be more fuel consumption which compels us to increase the price. Anyhow, we are currently working on it,” he said.

The service according to transport companies will bring huge difference in standardizing Bhutanese public transport system and curbing the outflow of government revenue in importing cars. Also the service is expected to curb increasing traffic jams with people preferring to use the service. “More people are expected to opt the service rather than buying new vehicles,” Sangay Dorji said. He said the road condition and rigid bus fare have become bottleneck to enhance public transport service. “With change in people’s choice of standard, we are here to provide services which have been proven successful in other countries,” he said, adding that till now people didn’t have options.

The service will be gradually extended to other parts of the country after testing its success and after road conditions improve.

The Fuso Bus which will be used meets the criteria of premium bus with reclining seats, high end roofs, curtains and comfortable space for the passengers. “The response from the people is good,” Sangay Dorji said.

Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing