In an effort to decongest vehicular traffic in the Lungtenzampa area, Thimphu Thromde in coordination with the City Bus Service will provide 12 buses to pick up and drop off students starting next month.

Three buses each will start from Babesa, Changbangdu, Pamtsho and Dechencholing at around 7:30am and pick students of Yangchenphug Higher secondary School (YHSS) and Lungtenzampa Middle Secondary School (LMSS) waiting at the designated bus stops in the city.

The thrompon said that the bus service will be provided to the students of the two schools on a pilot basis.

“If the service proves effective in decongesting vehicular traffic then the same service will be provided to other schools,” the thrompon said.

The thrompon said that there is more traffic congestion in the city particularly around the time students are picked up and dropped of. “Parents whose children are in the two schools don’t have to drive their children to school now.”

The thrompon said that the effort is expected to encourage students to use the buses for transportation and help reduce traffic congestion. “Our target is also to encourage adults to use city buses.”

There will be a time difference of about 10 minutes between the three buses plying from the same location.

The thrompon said that in the morning, the last bus should reach the school parking by 8:20am to ensure that the students reach school on time for the morning assembly.

The thrompon was told that most of the parents were excited when they were informed about the service during a parents-teacher meeting in the two schools.

LMSS’s vice principal, Kinley Namgyel, said that more than 80 percent of the parents responded positively to the initiative.

The vice principal said that the timings of the two schools differ by about 10 minutes because of the traffic congestion.

“The buses will not only help in easing vehicular congestion in the area but also has positive effects on the environment,” he said. “Parents who still wish to drive their children to the schools can do so but they will be allowed to drive only until the Changlimithang bus stop or Hotel Riverview.”

A parent, Gyeltshen, said that with two schools in the same location and the bus station and a taxi parking nearby, traffic congestion in the area is severe during peak times.

“The school parking lot is packed with cars and pedestrians,” Gyaltshen said. “If timely bus services are provided then it will greatly save a lot of our time.”

Another parent, Sonam Yangki, said that the thromde and the city bus service’s initiative would create a safer environment for the pedestrians who are mostly students, besides easing traffic congestion.

A corporate employee, Sonam Penjor, who lives above YHSS said that unlike in the past, the number of students driven to school are increasing every year. “It has been a challenge for me to drive my five-year-old son to school to the other side every morning,” he said. “Looks like the initiative will make the morning routines of the residents here like myself convenient,” Sonam Penjor said.

Thimphu thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee met with the city bus service officials yesterday to discuss the initiative.

The city bus service will provide eight buses and for the remaining four, government school buses will be used. Students will have to pay the same fare as charged by city buses. The income will be used for fuel and maintenance of the buses.

The thrompon said that the three buses will be parked at the starting points overnight to ensure that the students are dropped to the schools on time. “It would be a hassle for the bus to go to the respective locations in the morning,” the thrompon said. “The service is expected to start by April 15.”

Dechen Tshomo