YK Poudel 

Public transport services carrying extra passengers due to double passengers having the same ticket number is one of the many inconveniences.

Is this happening because of a lack of monitoring by the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA)?

Sangeeta Biswa, a passenger who travelled on Sernya Transport bus between Gelephu and Thimphu said: “I would like to know whether RSTA monitors the public transport ticketing system. Such inconveniences must stop. This is not the first time.”

One of the passengers travelling in Pelyab Transport Service said that the passenger seat broke down in the middle of the journey and the passengers behind had to hold the seat. However, the driver continued driving for a long distance without trying to fix it.

“In a 19-seater bus, I travelled on, there were 24 passengers. There are two checkpoints between Gelephu and Thimphu but the RSTA officials do not check the condition of the bus properly. I have seen that with my two eyes!”, said one passenger.

As per Road Safety and Transport Regulations (RSTR) 2021, a vehicle shall have a set of tools sufficient for emergency repairs.

A passenger vehicle, according to RSTR, shall not be allowed to pick up excess passengers en-route and the risks associated must lie on the driver and the operator with 20 units per extra passenger as a penalty.

Lhab Dorji, 26, said that when the bus reaches the terminal, RSTA is supposed to carry out a post-arrival inspection to ensure that no extra passengers and luggage are carried and the vehicle is in good condition, but the authority hardly does their required duty regularly. “In Bhutan, many bus drivers do things as they wish, travel on their own comfort time and do not check whether the passengers who paid are comfortable or not,” he said.

Staff from the Sernya Transport Service counter said that many people book the tickets over a call and cancel at the last hour, causing issues. “We try our best to adjust them on another bus.”

“When a passenger books a ticket online through DrukRide, we get a notification and issue another ticket number when someone comes in person. Many do it over a call or inform the drivers directly and assure their ticket is booked without our notice.”