A web of transport syndicates made up of private bus owners have repeated blocked official attempts to modernize Nepal’s highly inefficient bus network in the pollution-chocked Kathmandu Valley.
According to the AFP, critics in Nepal say that these associations have managed to win control over the roads and ensure laws stay favorable to them by making payments masked as political donations to key political figures.
A thirty million dollar six-year program aimed at cleaning up a system of more than 10,000 rickety buses and mini-buses that ply the streets of Nepal’s three largest cities, Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur has failed to materialize.
The plan would significantly reduce congestion and emissions in the gridlocked valley, where harmful microscopic particles regularly surpass levels six times the maximum threshold recommended by the World Health Organization.
Said the director of the public bus system, Kanak Mani Dixit, “If you the allow private sector to go unregulated on something that is supposed to be a public service, then they will run amok for sure. There is no way to put that genie back in the bottle.”