A release by the Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC) said that the government has decided to purchase 10 additional buses for city transport at a cost of Nu. 67.55 mn.
The MoIC said that the burgeoning vehicular traffic in Thimphu City has become a concern to everyone and so the government realizing that an efficient urban transport is the panacea to reduce vehicular traffic in the capital city decided to go ahead with the purchase.
The new buses procured will be suitable for city service operation and cater to the special needs of senior citizens and the commuters with special needs. The buses are expected to be deployed within the first half of 2016.
The release said that the government is committed to improve City Transport Service and more resources will be allocated for the purpose either on its own or through donors support including the introduction of electric buses in future.
The additional buses shall be deployed to augment the present routes with high passenger traffic flow, increase the frequency of buses in the primary routes from 15 minutes to 10 minutes during peak hours, and deploy additional buses in strategic routes.
The buses will continue to ply throughout the day on primary routes as per the predetermined schedule during the off hours. The time schedule shall be displayed in all bus stops and strictly adhered to for convenience of commuters. The time schedule shall also be made available through mobile apps in future.
The augmentation is expected to provide reliable and affordable transport, traffic decongestion, emission reduction and ease housing problems in the core city area.
Presently, there are 30 city buses managed by Bhutan Postal Corporation in Thimphu and with the addition of these 10 new buses, the city bus service in Thimphu will have the capacity to transport about 11,000 passengers daily.
The City Bus service is highly subsidized by the Government and the total subsidy paid by the Government in the year 2014-2015 is Nu. 20.83 mn.
The ministry said that despite the subsidy, the Government is committed to maintain an efficient, reliable and affordable urban transport system but it will not be possible for the Government to maintain this without the cooperation from all stakeholders.
“Therefore, all stakeholders and specially the commuters are earnestly requested to make use of the city bus service regularly and give feedback and suggestions for its continuous improvement,” said the release.