Commuters in Thimphu have found the city bus service beneficial. But the more the better, they say.
Chencho, 21, waits at the Changjiji city bus terminal every day at around 8:50 am to leave for her work at Changangkha. The bus arrives at 8:55 am and leaves at 9 am.
Chencho said that she has been using the city bus service for the last two months. “I enjoy the rides and can save money.”
The bus fares in the city range from Nu 5 to Nu 25, depending on the distance and routes.
Chencho said: “If there are more buses before and after office and school hours, then the service would be more convenient.”
The City Bus Service’s operations and maintenances manager, Pasang Tshering, said that many buses would be left idle during lean hours if additional buses are purchased.
He said a driver and a conductor will remain idle along with each idle bus and that it would entail additional costs. But he added that the bus service would see improvements with the introduction of a new route system soon.
According to Pasang Tshering, the introduction of the new route system will address the issues of traffic congestion and pollution. “If the service is efficient and reliable, people will be encouraged to use it.”
The City Bus Service, he said, would soon procure additional buses that will have a smart card system for commuters to use.
Pasang Tshering said that the limited number of buses and inadequate infrastructure currently have been a cause of reliability issues.
The bus service earns between Nu 45,000 to Nu 60,000 per day when schools are open, and between Nu 35,000 to Nu 45,000 on other days.
Lhadoe, 74, from Thimphu said that she preferred a city bus to a taxi. “Travelling by bus is not only cheaper but also comfortable.”
A civil servant said that the bus arrives on time. “Travelling by a city bus is less stressful as I don’t have to worry about traffic congestions and parking issues.”
The City Bus Service was started in 1999 by Thimphu Thromde with four buses. Today there are 45 and four city buses in Thimphu and Phuentsholing respectively.
City buses cover areas including Ngabiphu, and Chamgang in Thimphu.