Many taxi drivers and commuters that this paper spoke with say the distance between pick and drop stands are long and the location is also inconvenient for them.
A 26-year-old private employee said that the long walk to the stand is not easy, and by the time she reaches the stand, all buses and taxis have already left.
“I am not complaining, but I think the concerned authority must relook into the matter and make it more flexible for us to take a bus or taxi,” she said.
Another bus commuter who is a government employee said, “We appreciate what the concerned authority is doing, but somehow and somewhere, they lack in implementing the service practically.”
He added that the distance between two bus stands are long, and therefore, people take shortcuts and cross the roads wherever it is convenient for them. He said such shortcuts might lead to accidents as people are in a hurry to catch the public transportation.
Similarly, a 45-year-old taxi driver said that it is inconvenient for most taxi drivers to pick up passengers only at the stands. “Before we used to make good money, but with rules of such stands, our revenue has gone down. We could hardly get a passenger from the stands”, he said.
Chief Transport Officer, Road Safety Transport Authority (RSTA), Karma Pemba, said that they have identified the pick and drop stops after consultation with relevant agencies, like the Thromde, Traffic Police and Bhutan Post.
He said they selected the places which are seen to be convenient for both drivers and commuters, and to avoid unnecessary traffic congestion. The stands were put up after looking into several issues, like residential areas, places where public gathers the most, and where it is convenient for the buses or taxis to halt at.
“We don’t have a particular distance between two pick and drop stands because we make the stand wherever it is necessary. We also don’t make stands in every short distance as it might lead to traffic obstruction,” he said.
He also said that they are allocating pick and drop stands which will not affect the main road.
“We urge the general public to give us the feedback on such issues so that we can relook into it and make the services more flexible and convenient. We do for public, so your information will be highly appreciated,” the Chief Transport Officer said.
Meanwhile, RSTA said facilities, like waiting sheds, safety and security at the bus and taxi stands will be provided soon.
Executive Secretary, Passang Dorji said that, they cannot have pick up and drop services at very short distances as it might lead to traffic disruption. “We feel that we have enough pick up and drop stands and instead the drivers of public transportation should cooperate to change the behavior of the commuters”, he added.
He also said that, drivers cannot wait for the commuters in drop and pick stand area but they can only pick up and drop a passenger. He said, “Drivers tend to misuse the stands because we found that in areas like Lungtenzampa stand, they stop their taxi and urinate wherever they please which indirectly hampers the services”.
Moreover, he also said that if they find anyone misusing the services than they will be penalized with fines. In addition, they will be coming up with more facilities in future.