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The revised fares for public transport that the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) has worked out following the drop in price of petrol and diesel will come into effect from December 1.

Revised fare for taxis is less by Nu 2 a kilometre (Km) within a district and Nu 1 a Km for journey outside the district.  For coaster buses, the cost of the ticket has decreased by Nu 0.13 per kilometre per person for a coaster bus. RSTA’s Director General, Pemba Wangchuk said that the information and communications ministry approved the revised rates on November 17.

Chief Transport Officer with RSTA, Karma Pemba said that the taxi fare depends on the number of passengers in a car. “More the number of the people in a taxi, the less passengers have to pay.”

He said that even if a passenger takes a taxi from Memorial Choeten or any other place in the city, the fare would be based on the number of kilometres he or she travelled.

If a person reserves a taxi from the main town to Semtokha, which is seven kilometres away, the passenger has to pay Nu 126 with the revised rates. If there are four persons in the taxi, then the sum would be shared among the passengers, which costs about Nu 31 each.

In a city bus, if a passenger travels to Dechencholing from the city bus terminal in Thimphu, which is about nine kilometres away, the fare per person should cost about Nu 15, which is Nu 1 less from the existing fare.

For journeys outside a district in a coaster bus, the existing rate for hilly area is Nu 1.42 a Km, which has now decreased to Nu 1.29 a Km. A passenger travelling from Thimphu to Bumthang (267 km) in a coaster bus will now pay Nu 344.45 a ticket, a drop by about Nu 35 from the existing rate of Nu 380.

But if a passenger is travelling to the plains such as from Thimphu to Phuentsholing in a coaster bus, he or she would pay Nu 220, which is about Nu 22 less than the existing fare.

Karma Pemba said that for non-coaster buses, the drop in fare is marginal. The revised fare chart for the whole country will be completed by the end of this month.

Officials said that the recent increase in the fuel price by Nu 1.38 for diesel and Nu 2.2 for petrol was also considered while calculating the revised fares.

Fares are revised only if the assessment of the operating costs increases or decreases by five percent and more.

Karma Pemba said that this time, there was a decrease in operating costs by about 8.5 percent. “The reason for revising fares on the basis of five percent is because there wouldn’t be much impact if the cost is less or more.”

He said that the revised rates were reached based on a fare model that includes fixed and variable costs. RSTA also collected current operating costs from regional trade offices. RSTA assesses the operating costs every six months.

Some components of the fixed cost include cost of the bus, cost of annual registration fee, trade license fee, while variable cost includes cost of fuel, administrative overhead, maintenance, tyres, lubricants, and spare parts.

Meto transport’s manager said bus operators would be  the most affected with the revised rates. “The fuel price keeps fluctuating. What if there is an increase in price in the next few months?” He said that the revision could have been made after the completion of the East-West Highway.

Chairman of Taxi Association of Bhutan, Rinzin Chophel said that although the decrease in the fare rates may not affect them much, the decision should have been discussed with them.

On an average, the monthly passenger flow of people travelling to other places from Thimphu alone is about 20,653. There are about 286 buses, 50 city buses and more than 4,000 taxis across the country today.

Rinchen Zangmo

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