Recently 18 elected chiefs of the local governments of the Kathmandu Valley agreed upon collaborating to fight common concerns considering the worsening air quality and other isues.
As a matter of fact the Kathmandu Valley has to struggle for making it livable from different points of view. There are so many problems like population management, land management, road management, water, sanitation and waste management, environment management have been surfaced but never thought to solve or just paid lip services.
The forum said to have been created of all Mayors of Kathmandu Valley municipalities, sub metropolitan cities and metropolitan cities are appreciable as they have shown enthusiasm in solving the problems which one single or some cannot, but can be solved by a collective effort.
The public transportation system is one such problem which relates to most of the problems as said above in common.
The federal government source also had revealed that public transportation systems must be reformed and electric buses are to be introduced. It also says that some 100 units of electric will be deployed soon in initiation of the federal government.
The Government of Province 3 also had declared a plan to operate only electric vehicles in the main cities within it including the Kathmandu Valley within 10 years. Also informs that necessary plans for effective implementation are under formulation.
It is also worth to state that Sajha Yatayat has been looking for electric buses to introduce in its fleets. In this run, it lent the electric buses brought for Lumbini to use and experiment in the Kathmandu Valley. The operation of the electric buses was launched by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli recently. The electric buses brought in by Sajha Yatayat, indeed, had opened up opportunities for Sajaha to bring its own to operate as the electric buses now which will be operated in Lumbini after completion of the airport project in Bhairawa.
It is also note worthy that some bus operating companies are planning to bring electric buses soon. But details are not available so far. The public transportation is important from the point of view of public comfort and minimise the road uses. Electric buses will be definitely instrumental in controlling the air pollution created by vehicles as vehicular air pollution shares 38% of total air pollution of the Kathmandu Valley and public buses are also part of big pollutants.
As said above launching of electric buses are symbolically catchy for people to understand that electric public transportation will be available soon. The federal government plan of bringing in 100 electric buses is also another catchy news.
The bitter fact is that bus services as public transportation available these days are not user friendly. The buses are most of time are packed and even the passengers get a little space to move when in the ride. Another unpleasant aspect is the conductors behave just as they like. There is no punctuality or time management. The smoke blenching is the most experienced problem with existing diesel engine buses. That means, the forum of the Kathmandu Valley Mayors may be suggested to refer the research and studies carried to plans scientific public transportation systems. That means, when enhancing of public transportation system in the Kathmandu Valley comes in front, above mentioned issues must be brought to consideration. So that electric buses must be the first choice.
Electric buses are not cheap as the diesel engine buses as all electric vehicles are more expensive that fossil fuel run vehicles in the world market. Electric vehicles do not require fossil fuel but battery is to charge, so as cost of operation is very low and maintenance cost is also nominal. This will help reduce import fossil fuel and cost of maintenance. Other main benefit is air pollution to bring into minimum scale (if only electric vehicles will be operated in the Kathmandu Valley vehicular pollution will be down to zero which is only in the long run). Thus, the diesel engine buses and other fossil fuel run vehicles must be planned to phase out.
As said above, the electric vehicles are expensive and some measures must be considered to support the cost factors to the electric bus operators with conditions to operate the electric buses to make user friendly. In this, connection appropriate use of Pollution Control Fund, tax raised on use of every litre of petrol and diesel which has been swelled to more than 5 billion rupees by this time. Likewise, some other global funds related to climate change and environment protections must be accessed to bring in to utilise in Nepal’s electric mobility promotion.
Likewise, electric cars for taxi 24 services will be wise to promote. The services must be efficient and honest enough so as the users will have to prefer hiring taxi rather than keeping a fossil fuel vehicle for personal or family use.
Thus, the Mayors, commitment will definitely bring desired results.