EVs for Public Transportation !
Sajha Yatayat formally launched operation of electric bus service on July 07 in Kathmandu. That was started with three electric buses from Pulchowk-based office of Sajha Yatayat. Founder chairman of Sajha Bishwabandhu Thapa who is now 95 years old, formally inaugurated the electric bus service.
Sajha Yatayat is a cooperative public transportation organization which was established in 1961/1962 to provide efficient and affordable public transportation to commuters in Kathmandu Valley, as well to inter-district travellers. The transport entity commits to provide dignity in public transport, knowing that public health, the environment, the cityscape as well as the national economy all will benefit when the citizens begin to rely on buses rather than private four-wheelers or two-wheelers.
The electric buses brought into service are a part of 40 buses Sajha purchased from CHTCHO Company in Nanjing, China. Three electric buses brought in by Sajha in the first phase have been now started regular service on some selected existing routes.
These buses are semi-floor bus designed with due consideration on usefulness for the elderly, disabled and children. These buses are handicapped-friendly too.
Sajha has a plan to give priority to women drivers and co-drivers for the operation of the new electric buses. Currently, 4 female drivers and 5 female co-drivers are undergoing training on the efficiency and safety protocol of electric buses.
At present, the electric buses with a capacity of 25 seats have features like WiFi, TV display, CCTV etc. There is also a facility with a ramp for differently-abled people to get on and off the bus. The government had decided to buy 300 electric buses with government investment on December 24, 2018.
Sajha source informs that the remaining 37 buses will also arrive in Nepal soon.
Earlier, in 2018, Sajha Yatayat launched a test operation of electric buses in Kathmandu. The electric buses were supposed to operate in the Kathmandu Valley before they were to be operated in Lumbini after completion of Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa. But due to some technical lapses the operation of electric buses in Kathmandu by Sajha Yatayat was aborted.
Moreover, Sundar Yatayat has been operating 6 electric buses on Kathmandu Ring Road. It has also extended ebus services in Sunauli – Bhairhawa – Butwal – Jitpur (Kapilbastu) as well.
Some 14 seat electric vans are servicing on Kathmandu – Manthali, Kathmandu – Sindhuli and a route in Dhanagadhi in the Province Sudur Pashchim. The electric vehicles for public transportation is successful in these routes.
Increasing ebus services for public transportation may be appreciated from the point of view of air pollution, environment, climate change, reduction of use of fossil fuel and use of electricity generated in the country. As the EV movement is considered as still in the initial phase, it needs extensive governmental support in policy and finance for desired rate of increment of EVs for public transportation.