Sherab Lhamo 

Traffic policemen guided the traffic at intersections to keep on the right lane as thromde began its bus priority lane pilot test along the expressway yesterday. 

The bus lane will apply between Babesa Zero to Changzamtog flyover bridge during the peak hours (7-10am, and 3:30-6:30pm).

A Thimphu Thromde official said based on their observations, a majority of drivers are conscious of using the right lane and the same practice would be maintained. 

A daily bus commuter, Sangay Lhamo said that the bus turned up on time. “I get on the bus at Helipad Olakha stop and the bus is usually delayed by 5 to 10 minutes. Today, it was on time.”

From Babesa to Changzamtog flyover, it used to take 30 to 40 minutes during peak hours but yesterday it took only around 22 minutes. “It really helps us reach bus stops on time,” said Phub Tshering, a city bus driver.  

While some appreciated the move, some commuters said the buses came earlier than the usual time so they missed it. 

Private vehicle and taxi drivers expressed concerns about the change.

A civil servant said, it usually took him around 11-12 minutes to get to my office from Babesa, but yesterday it took 20 minutes since he had to drive in single file. 

He said there is a need for three lanes, which could really help, as currently the traffic is heavy. “We would use the bus if we did not have to commute to other offices but we have to. We cannot wait for the bus, and the taxi fare is high.” 

An official from the city bus office said that for now they will not be penalising drivers who are using the priority lane, since there are still some unaware about it. “But in the future we will.”