Transport: Thimphu residents are frustrated with erratic city bus timing. Commuters, at times, have to wait at the stop for hours.

Karma Dorji, a corporate employee, said that the timings were more convenient before when the buses used to ply every 30 minutes. All was ruined with the introduction of e-ticketing system, he said.

Tshering, a resident of Olakha, said, “It is now a total mess. The buses come and go in their own time. Authorities concerned should provide the public with a reliable bus timing.”

Thimphu has 30 city buses plying on different routes. Pasang Tshering, manager of the city bus services, said that all the buses are discharged from the terminal at 7am and return at 6:30pm. There is no new bus timing, he added.

Pasang Tshering said that during peak hours – 7am to 9:30am and 3pm to 6:30pm – buses from Dechencholing to Babesa via Lungtenphu and the expressway ply after every 15-minute interval and, in places like Motithang, Pamtsho and Jungshina, after every 30 minutes.

He said that a maximum of four buses are allocated for each route depending on the number of commuters. On the Babesa expressway, the busiest route, buses run after every 30 minutes during lean hours (9:30 am to 3pm). Buses run on Motithang and Jungshina/Pamtsho routes after every hour.

Commuters complain that during winter when the schools are closed, the frequency of the bus service is comparatively less. “Is the bus services only for students?” asked a commuter. “We have to wait for hours in the sun and dust. Sometime the bus doesn’t show up at all.”

Karma Wangdi, Bhutan Post’s Chief Executive Officer, said that around 60 percent of commuters using city bus services comprise of students. There may be irregularities due to limited number of buses, especially in summer, he added.

“Sometimes buses get delayed when mechanical problems occur enroute,” said Karma Wangdi, adding that on some routes delays happen due to traffic congestion, especially during peak hours in the mornings and evenings.

Bhutan Post has plans to purchase about 10 more city buses in order to address the shortage of commuter bus.

Pasang Tshering said that when the students are on vacations, not many people use the bus service. “We deploy the buses looking at the flow of passengers,” he said. “There is no point deploying several buses if there is no one to use the service.”

He added that some new bus stop signs will be put up and old ones repaired. There are about 170 bus stops in the capital.

Younten Tshedup