Jigmi Wangdi

Commuters and workers who work late in business establishments in Thimphu can ply in city bus up to 12:30am. The service that earlier stopped at 11.30pm has been extended by an hour now from yesterday.

The extension was made as a measure to improve the bus service for the commuters who are required to work late in town.

City Bus Service’s Officiating Director, Sangay Dorji said that the change was made to extend the service to employees of the entertainment centres and restaurants as most of them have to work till midnight on a regular basis.

“Before we stopped the services at 10:30pm and there would be a large number of commuters. Then we extended it till 11:30pm and there was still an increase in the commuters. Through feedback we learned that karaoke bars and other entertainment centres close at 12 midnight,” he said.

A period of 30 minutes is being kept so that such employees are able to reach the bus terminal on time. The bus drivers have also been scheduled on a shift basis.

“The day drivers will be driving till 7:00 p.m. after which we have allotted eight buses that will start operating from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30am,” Sangay said.

He also said the routes of the buses will be different compared to the day as the number of commuters are high and is comprised of officer-goers, school-going children, etc. “At night we mostly have people who are commuting towards their homes located on the outskirts of the main town. Starting from the central bus terminal at Changlam, the buses will take alternating routes to the south and north of Thimphu,” he said.

Other than the employees working in the entertainment centres, the timing of the bus service has also been extended to meet the requirements of the general public.

Manager of Operations and Maintenance, Passang Tshering said, “Although the aim is to provide the bus service to those working late in town, we are also extending the time to provide the service for people who do not drive, as taxis charge more at night.”

“However, this extension in the timing is by no means a way to compete with taxis,” he said.

The City Bus Service would also ensure the safety of passengers travelling during the late hours. “We do not allow individuals who are intoxicated in any manner to board the bus for security reasons and to prevent risks to other commuters. We will have two inspectors supervising the buses until the end of the service,” Passang said.

He added that they also receive support from the police in maintaining the security of the buses. The proposal to extend the timing was fully supported by Thimphu Thromde, he said.

The City Bus Service will also be starting a ‘bus lane’ in the coming months. Only buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed on this lane during the peak hours of the day to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of city buses.