Transport: A passenger bus of Dhug Transport Service, carrying 17 passengers, took four days to reach Lhuntse.

The passengers were concerned and frustrated with the service, which ultimately led to a formal complaint being made to the Royal Bhutan Police’s (RBP) Traffic Division and Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA).

Passengers felt cheated because they were not informed about the problems with the vehicle. The first day of the journey took more than 17 hours to reach Trongsa.

The bus had to stop at Lamperi below Dochula because of a mechanical problem. However, the bus continued without any maintenance and the passengers’ concerns were silenced by the handy boy who said that it was a minor issue.

Upon reaching Wangdue, the bus faced another mechanical problem followed by clutch problems, and then some issues with the gearbox. The engine began to rattle and stop frequently. From Chendebji, the bus’s headlights would not work which was a frightening experience for the passengers travelling in the dark.

An RSTA official came to inspect the bus but left saying that the problem was nothing to be worried about and that he had little power to deal with it.

RSTA, he said, could at the best only ask the bus owners to carry out maintenance and to carry on. Asking for another bus from Thimphu would mean having to wait another day.

Eight passengers left by hiring a taxi from Trongsa.

“RSTA is not doing what it must and is ignoring its mandate,” said one frustrated passenger. “Travelling on a bus should not be so painful.” Others questioned the ethics of the service provider.

Suraj Pradhan

Suraj Pradhan is the finance manager of Kuensel Corporation