After more than a month without the regular bus service to Mongar,  residents of Lhuentse could avail of the service again this month, Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) officials said.

The previous bus service operator withdrew after the bus suffered serious technical problems.

It has left most Lhuentse residents who travel to Mongar for treatment and shopping.

Dorji from Minjey gewog regularly goes to Mongar for shopping. He said it was difficult to find a vehicle without the local bus service.

Sometimes, he said, he ended up walking for hours along the road to hitch a ride. “There are not many cars travelling on this highway.”

Dorji said there are only a few taxis and they charge between Nu 2,500 and Nu 3,000. The bus fare is only Nu 150 one way.

“We can go to Mongar in the morning and return home in the evening. It’s convenient,” another resident said.

Lhuentse’s RSTA base in charge, Damchu Dorji said a new contractor, who has been awarded the route, is in the process of procuring a new bus.

“The previous bus broke down often and given the Covid-19 situation repairing it was difficult. We accepted its surrender because we can’t compromise the safety,” Damchu Dorji said.

It was learned that the new bus has reached Phuentsholing and would reach Lhuentse soon to begin service this month.

Lhuentse also needs a bus terminal. Without a designated bus terminal, the bus was parked at the driver’s convenience and passengers have problems in booking tickets and there is no proper place to keep their luggage.

RSTA had proposed the construction of a bus terminal and an office building at the fuel station area.  The building will serve as offices for RSTA base and traffic police, have a luggage room, and a cafeteria, among others.

RSTA officials said the plan was approved in principle. However, the construction did not start for some reasons.

The base office operates from a rented unit in a private building.

Damchu Dorji said buses coming from Thimphu arrive late at night and post-arrival and pre-departure inspections would be much more convenient if the terminal and the building are built.

By Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Edited by Tshering Palden