Thinley Namgay

It would not be like this normally. Rules come and people wait to find ways around them.

The odd-even number rule for taxis was established to minimise overcrowding in the wake of Covid-19 in the country.

Taxi drivers are found to be abiding by the rules strictly. They do not carry more than two passengers at a time.

Traffic division’s superintendent of police (SP), Lt. Colonel Namgay, said the new rule was for taxis in Thimphu only.

Those who violate the rule will have to pay a fine of Nu 700.

“There’s not been a single violation as of yesterday,” said SP Namgay.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority’s (RSTA) officiating director-general, Ugyen Norbu, said that taxis with odd number could operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are for those with even number.”

On Sundays, however, the rule does not apply. This means all taxi drivers can do the business.

Taxi driver, Sonam Thinley, said that the traffic police were monitoring the taxis strictly. “But we understand this is for the greater national cause.”

Another taxi driver, Tenzin Namgyel, said that it was difficult to get passengers. “There aren’t a lot of people travelling around.”

Karma Dorji from Babesa said the new rule was a good initiative and that the objective to make money ought to take a back seat at this time when the nation is fighting the dreadful disease.

Sonam Yuden from Changzamtog said that she fully supported the new rule.

“In the neighbouring Indian states, the cases are increasing daily. Individuals must take responsibility. Observing precautions is critically necessary at this time,” she said.

Some, however, complain about the rule. The odd-even rule is found to be problematic for the people who have to travel from far places.

Thinley Dorji from Taba said that due to odd-even rule it took more time to get taxi, especially during rush hours.

To combat the spread of Covid-19, taxis and buses are mandated to carry passengers only on the designated seats as prescribed in the standard operating procedure (SOP) of RSTA.

The odd-even rule, however, does not apply to buses.