Queuing up at the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) counters to pay fines or make other payments is not something people look forward to most of the days. Many have to even cancel their scheduled meetings as they are stuck in RSTA office waiting in the long queues.
A private employee said he has been waiting in the queue since 9 am. According to him the RSTA staff is irresponsible because they are often late in opening the cash counters. He added that it would be better if RSTA could look into the matter of long queues and to resolve it soon. “If this is going to be the situation then, we being private employees, might lose our jobs as we are stuck here.”
Another person waiting in the queue is a taxi driver. “If I was at work, by now, I might have earned more than Nu 500. The facilities here are very poor. We would be glad if the head of the office look into the matter and resolve it soon.”
He pointed out that of the two cash counters; only one cash counter is being used while the other is kept ideal. He said, “We are not sure if they have a staff shortage or is it that they mean to keep us here?”
Similarly, a woman holding a kid said that she has come on behalf of her father. Her father is a government employee who came to pay the fine twice and on the third day she was sent instead of her father.
She said, “My father was frustrated with the line, he went twice but couldn’t make it out to pay the fine because the line was long and he had to go to office both the times.” She added that she has been standing in line for an hour and the line is almost stagnant.
As the penalty amount increases every day, people have no choice but to stand in line to pay their fines. RSTA office is also a noisy place as people waiting in the queue make a lot of noise hampering the working environment of the office.
According to Chief Transport Officer, RSTA, Karma Pemba, the long queues are mainly due to larger number of vehicles in the country, with most being concentrated in Thimphu.
The number is increasing rapidly with average registration of around 700-800 vehicles every month and about 400-500 in the Thimphu region (includes Haa, Paro, Wangdue, Punakha and Thimphu).
Also vehicle registration renewals fall in the months of December and January as per the past practice, which extends until February and March and in addition. He said it is also due to the limited number of revenue accountants.
In-order to bring down such issues, he said that RSTA has already done away with the system of renewing registration certificates in December and January. “Now, renewal of Registration Certificates has been spread throughout the year. Renewal now happens on the same day/month the vehicle is registered,” he added.
He also said that they have requested the government for more cashiers or revenue accountants. RCSC has approved two additional revenue accountants for Thimphu through the OD exercise recommendations and they are looking forward to placing additional revenue accountants soon.
He said, “Upon recruitment of two additional accountants, Thimphu would have 4 counters soon and this would ease the queue at the counters,”adding that RSTA is exploring options for online payment through the upgraded e-RaLIS (electronic Registration and Licensing System).
He claimed that the existing staff is also being engaged in helping the existing accountants when there are long queues.
Karma Pemba said, “To cut down such issues, RSTA has many offices located throughout the country and requests people to do the renewals in other nearby offices too till we recruit additional revenue accountants and till we are ready with the online payment system.”