English | Dzongkha Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Travelling by city bus- a painful experience

Dec 30, 2011

Travelling by city bus in the capital city can be an excruciatingly painful experience especially for the feminine gender.

The city bus service is popular with office goers, students, and housewives from low income families.

The fare is affordable and service dependable. It is however not known for the comfort of travel or the courtesy of the drivers or fellow passengers.

The buses are packed especially during the morning and afternoon rush hour. Passengers have to struggle to find standing space.

In the words of one regular user, it is difficult to breathe packed as they are like sardines in a can.

Sangay, a regular user, said “the buses carry in excess of the permitted capacity and passengers have to fight for the seats.”

Khandu Om, another regular user believes the city buses are meant for “bachelors and unmarried women.”

“It is definitely not for mothers with children. If they can’t get a seat which is often the case, they have to stand throughout the journey holding their child in their arms and at the same time take care of the goods they are carrying.”

Passengers also complain about the behavior of fellow passengers who make bawdy jokes or worse still pinch the backside of women.

The problem can be solved to a large extent if the drivers respect the seating capacity and not carry in excess.

Sonam Tobgay, the deputy managing director of Bhutan Post which operates the city bus service said they have given clear instructions to their drivers not to carry excess passengers.

“This does not seem to be working,” he said.

According to him, the waiting passengers rush in regardless of whether there are seats or not soon as the bus stops in a designated area. And there are always more passengers than seats available.

“As soon as the conductor opens the door, everybody rushes into the bus. It is not that we don’t have a system to monitor overcrowding.

Thimphu will have five additional buses by April next year with a carrying capacity of 60 to 70 passengers.

Once they are deployed, overcrowding will hopefully become a thing of the past.

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