An 18–seater public bus service from Dorokha to Samtse commenced yesterday.

The bus will travel the 54-km road to Samtse and return the same day.

Dorokha gup Padam Bahadur Rai said the service would help people immensely as there is huge demand.

“There are more than 14,000 people in three gewogs of Dorokha drungkhag,” he said, adding that there would be proper timing for travel with the bus service.

Dorokha, Dumtey and Denchukha are the three gewogs under Dorokha drungkhag.

Padam Bahadur Rai said that currently people paid Nu 300 to travel to Samtse from Dorokha. The cost of a bus ticket is Nu60.

Dorokha gup also said that 99 percent of the blacktopping works on the road would be completed this year. This would enhance better service.

A Dorokha resident, who runs a business, Buddha Lepcha, said the bus service was timely since the road is blacktopped.

“People are happy that such service has come,” he said, adding that travelling in taxis and private vehicles was expensive.

However, Buddha Lepcha said that the bus fare, as settled by the government was “little less” and the service may collapse if it does not make profit. People are willing to pay at least Nu100 a ticket, he said, explaining it would be a win-win situation for both public and the service provider.

The service provider, Nochen Doya, 46, who is from Sanglung village said it was his intention to provide the bus service.

“I have chosen a senior and experienced driver,” he said.

The bus carried a full load to Samtse yesterday and returned full.

However, Nopchen Doya is worried about the Nu60, which according to him was less.

“Although I am not really profit-motivated, it may be difficult to operate at this rate,” he said. “Even passengers told me the rate was too low to sustain.”

Should there be need, Nopchen Doya said he would appeal to the relevant authority. For now, the bus service would continue whether it is in loss or profit, he added.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing