The concerned stakeholders, during a meeting held here today, have decided to form several local- and central-level committees to regulate long-haul vehicles.

After the government announced it was allowing operations of long-haul vehicles to resume from Thursday, the Department of Transportation Management (DoTM) had held a meeting with Traffic Police Kathmandu, Federation of Nepali National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE), Nepal Transportation Workers Union, All Nepal Transport Workers Union and Nepal Transport Free Workers Union.

“In view of the fast-approaching festive season, the government has decided to operate long-haul vehicles and a meeting held today has decided to form several committees with involvement of local governments, provincial governments, entrepreneurs, highway hotels and traffic police to regulate the travel,” said Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director general of DoTM.

The formation of committees will begin from Thursday, he informed. The local committees will look into travel arrangements along the highway to destination, while central committees will look after arrangement of vehicles while departing from Kathmandu.

“The entrepreneurs have appreciated the government’s decision allowing to ferry passengers with only 50 per cent occupancy while charging 50 per cent additional fare,” he said. “The entrepreneurs and workers today have expressed commitment to follow all the health safety protocols set by the government, and the traffic police along with local governments will monitor them.”

Similarly, the meeting has also directed the entrepreneurs to compulsorily carry out the PCR tests of both the driver and assistant driver.

“Their PCR tests will be checked on the way during the travel,” he added.

Saroj Sitaula, general secretary of FNNTE, said that the process of PCR testing will begin from Thursday.

“We are ready to follow the rules as directed by the government and we also welcome the decisions taken for the public vehicles,” he said, adding, “We have also directed all the transportation committees to buy COVID-19 insurance of all drivers and assistant drivers.”

He further claimed that the drivers and assistant drivers of the long-haul public vehicles will have to compulsory wear masks, gloves and face shields.

Other sanitation products will also be available in the buses.

DoTM has also directed the transporters to prepare schedule for vehicle operation.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 17, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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