… the revision is the highest so far

Thukten Zangpo 

Fares of public transport will increase from August 1, the second revision of the year.

A taxi ride from Thimphu to Paro will cost Nu 324 which is an increase of Nu 27 from the existing fare. If a passenger travels in a coaster bus on the same route the fare will be Nu 218 from the current fare of Nu 142.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) revises fares twice a year, in February and August.

An official from the transport management division in RSTA, Ugyen Norbu, said that there would be an increase of 14 percent to 56 percent which is the highest revision so far. “Fare depends on the type of vehicles and route.”

He said that the increase in the passenger fare was mainly because of a 37 percent increase in fuel price. “The cost of repair and maintenance also doubled over the past six months.”

A litre of petrol was Nu 76.67 in Thimphu as of January this year which increased to Nu 92.92 today. Similarly, a litre of diesel is Nu 109.78 now from Nu 72.24 in January.

While revising the fare, Ugyen Norbu said that the authority looks into three parameters-capital costs, variable costs, and fixed costs under 27 different dimensions.

He added that capital costs include the cost of a vehicle, insurance, vehicle registration, scrap value of the vehicle, and business income tax.

While variable costs look into average fuel price over six months, repair and maintenance, tyre maintenance, mileage, administrative and communication cost, rental for ticket counter, and ticket printing cost. Fixed cost takes into account the drivers’ salary.

Considering all three parameters, Ugyen Norbu said that the authority kept the 10 percent profit margin for operators.

He added that passengers complain about the unfair fare charged by taxi drivers, however, the authority is helpless since they cannot track the driver or route. “If GPS is installed in the passenger vehicles, there will be no argument.”

The authority plans to install a global positioning system (GPS) in all passenger buses and taxis. Currently, the authority is working with the bus operators to install the system.