Opposition members questioned the government on its pledge to provide bus services in all gewogs with road access.
Dremetse Ngatshang MP Ugyen Wangdi said 200 gewogs now have road access and are in need of public transport, as private operators have not stepped in. “Four years of the government’s term has passed but no bus services are in operation,” he said.
In response the communications minister, D. N Dhungyel, said bus service operations were given to private entities but they are not interested because it is not profitable. To encourage private operators the government also provided subsidy on.
As of now, 225 passenger buses are operating on 66 routes in the country according to the minister. He also said that of the 205 gewogs 139 gewogs have been able to introduce transport services. The remaining 66 gewogs were near the highway and therefore did not require separate services. In some gewogs road construction was ongoing and in others road condition was not suitable.
Lyonpo said the ministry also required authorisation from the Department of Roads, which would check whether the road was safe.
In places connected with narrow roads Lyonpo said that government has approved boleros to operate as taxis and there are 400 boleros across the country functioning as taxis in gewogs. “This was done to provide transport services as pledged by the government,” the minister said. “The government is optimistic to introduce bus services in all gewogs by 2018.”
Meanwhile the Khamed-Lunana MP, Pema Drakpa, said the bus service to Gasa has helped people immensely. However, the current schedule was not convenient.
Lyonpo said “The RSTA found that there are not enough passengers and the current schedule is suitable,” Lyonpo said. “The services will be made more frequent if more people require the services.”