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With 35,000 vehicles, Bhutan capital feels the heat

Posted on Oct 10, 04:05PM | IANS

Bhutan's capital Thimphu has over 35,000 vehicles - over half of the entire country - causing traffic congestion and a daily now wants the government to improve its city bus service.

An editorial in Kuensel daily Wednesday said that the government's initial plan was to introduce city buses to provide Thimphu residents a reliable mode of public transport, besides reducing car numbers causing growing congestion on city roads.

"But the plan found itself at odds with the government's softer side of feeling for the low-income people wishing to own cars of their own some day," it said.

"The domain of the heart eventually prevailed so far over that of the mind that, today, we have more than 35,000 vehicles in the capital city alone, of the more than 66,000 across the country," the daily added.

In New Delhi, the capital of neighbouring India, an estimated 60 lakh vehicles ply on roads every day.

The editorial said that perhaps it is time to "vivify the city bus services, so more of the capital residents would use it, as they would once out of the country".

"That simply means the authorities need to improve some of the long overdue city bus services," it added.

The daily suggested distributing leaflets to inform commuters of bus timings and their routes as well as to affix route maps, along with bus numbers or destination names at identified stops.

Swipe cards for regular commuters and driver-operated stationery ticket vending machines should also be installed.

The daily stressed that the most crucial aspect would be to "disallow commuters from eating, drinking or chewing once on board, and the rule has to be implemented strictly".

"If it can be done in huge, sophisticated metropolitan cities, it can certainly be done in Thimphu, which, by international standards, is not even a city," it added.