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Feel free to complain about overcharging public vehicles



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By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, July 24: Traffic Police have asked the public to seek help from the police if they are made to pay exorbitant fare by transport operators.
Police made the appeal at a time when the long-route vehicles have been found overcharging their passengers.
Issuing a notice on July 13, the Department of Transport Management (DoTM) informed that the fare of long-route public vehicles operating within two or more provinces has been increased. As per the notice, the fare for the long-route vehicles has been increased by 28 per cent.
Likewise, the fare for vehicles carrying goods have been increased in accordance with the geographical region of the country. The ones operating in the Terai have seen their fare increased by 26 per cent while those in hills by 20 per cent.
As per the DoTM officials, the fare was increased on the basis of recent market situation analysed in a scientific way as well as because of the necessity of keeping up with the changing circumstances.
During the pandemic-led restriction order, a large number of long-route vehicles were found overcharging their passengers citing very low fare set by the government.
"The government doesn’t revise the fare until we start protesting. Moreover, there was nothing done for us during the restriction order when we couldn’t earn a penny. And the increased price of fuel has caused us to charge the increased fare," said a public bus driver in his 40s who was en-route to Ilam from New Bus Park, Kathmandu on Friday.
The DoTM had earlier raised the fare two years ago on the eve of Dashain festival. In its recent statement, the DoTM has assured the transport operators that it would keep revising the fare based on a scientific analysis of the aspects involved.
That said, the public have complained that they are asked to pay more than the recently-increased fare.
As per a passenger who arrived in Kathmandu from Pokhara on Friday, he was charged Rs. 1,500 – far more than the increased fare which is less than Rs. 600.
However, the passenger, who requested anonymity, said that he didn’t want to complain about it because other buses were also charging similar fares and that if he had complained he wouldn’t have been able to come here.
Meanwhile, the authorities have informed that if the passengers are forced to pay more than what the government has fixed, they are free to seek help from the police.
"If a passenger is asked extra fare, s/he can freely complain about it. They can reach any police officer around or give a call at police helpline (100) or traffic helpline (103). Police will then arrive and take action against the vehicle. We will also manage vehicle for them to reach their destination safely," said Superintendent of Police (SP) Sanjib Sharma Das, spokesperson for Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD).
As per the MTPD, they have fined 271 vehicles since July 16 for charging exorbitant fare.