The pandemic has forced the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) to switch most public services online and enhance public service delivery.
RSTA is focusing on efficient public service delivery and public transport system considering the importance of surface transport for socioeconomic development and streaming the service delivery.
According to the Authority, it provided more than 300,000 services to the general public during the 2020-2021 financial year. It also developed service delivery standards with specific Turn-Around-Time (TAT) for each service to improve public service delivery efficiency.
RSTA provides 15 services, out of which ten services, including vehicle services, driving licence services, paying fines, and booking driving tests, among others, can be availed online.
Besides, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, an online payment system for availing of major RSTA services was put in place in the year 2019.
According to MoIC secretary, Phuntsho Tobgay, e-Registration & Licensing Information System (eRaLIS) is essential in delivering RSTA services, and the Department of Revenue and Customs’ RAMIS system has been handling the RSTA’s revenue generation from renewal and other administrative costs.
However, he said that the Authority could not integrate the two systems, which caused revenue-related issues, as reported by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
He said that RSTA was upgrading the system, especially integrating with the government’s revenue administration system. “The integration would deter misuse of funds and abuse of power.”
The Authority also launched a digital motor vehicle document system, mRSTA, in 2020 to transition from paper-based to digital documents. So far, more than 50,000 people have downloaded the mRSTA mobile app, which serves as a form of digital motor vehicle document.
RSTA director, Tashi Dawa, said with the official digital copy of the driver’s licence and vehicle’s documents, fines and penalties for failing to show the documents reduced significantly as it is accepted across the country.
To provide alternative service delivery points and take services nearer to people, he said that RSTA opened a new service centre at Babesa in August 2021. On average, around 700 people avail themselves of the services from such service centres monthly. “Further starting November 2, 2021, RSTA opened service counters for senior citizens and people with special needs in all five RSTA regional offices.”
Public transport system
RSTA will install global positioning system (GPS) in public transport buses by the end of June 2022 to manage and provide users with information on bus departure and arrival time.
Chief of Transport Development Division, Sithar Dorji, said it would ensure real-time display of departures and arrivals. It would help manage efficiency and safety in the public transport system.
Public transport ferried more than two million people in the last three financial years. More than 150 gewogs across the country are now connected with public transport services.
Tashi Dawa said that public transport was considered essential, especially in ensuring safety, comfort, and affordable service. “RSTA also started on-bound inspection in buses besides pre and post-departure and arrival inspections to check the possibility of excess passengers, luggage, overcharging of fares among others.”
He added that the Authority conducted regular drug and alcohol tests for commercial and public transport drivers, ensuring the professionalism of the vehicle owners and service providers. “The penalty is severe. We suspended the license for six months, and the defaulters were referred to agencies for rehabilitation.”
Moreover, MoIC and RSTA have provided 48 additional route approvals for passenger transport services in the last three financial years. Towards achieving the goal of last-mile connectivity, he said that the government continued to provide subsidies on non-profitable routes to sustain public transport operations.
Sithar said that the authority reviewed and approved the proposal for a premium passenger bus service between Thimphu and Phuentsholing to improve reliability and provide a better option. “Likewise, Airport shuttle bus service was also approved to provide public transport service between Paro International Airport and Thimphu.”
Since the novel coronavirus pandemic outbreak, he said that the authority had been ensuring the safety of public transport riders and the continued supply of medical and essential goods in the country. “RSTA officials continue to provide escort services to the transportation of essential goods into the country along the Indian highways.”