KATHMANDU, Dec 17: The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) is in a state of confusion regarding the fixation of fares for electricity-driven public transport vehicles.
Uddhav Prasad Rijal, director general of the DoTM, said that it is not clear on what basis they will determine the fare. He said that a discussion held on this matter at the department failed to reach any conclusion.
“The operating cost of electric vehicles is low, but the initial purchase price is high. That’s why we are confused,” Director General Rijal stated.
He said that due to the relatively brief operational history of electric vehicles, no decision has been reached regarding the fare structures
“We don’t know how long electric vehicles will operate. The buyers will be disappointed if the vehicle breaks down or the battery needs to be replaced in the next five to ten years. It is not sure how much it will cost to repair the vehicle after it breaks down. Globally, there is talk of shifting from electric to hydrogen vehicles,” said Rijal. “What if the car manufacturing company shifts from electric to hydrogen?” he questioned.
He clarified that it is not possible to determine separate fares for electric vehicles in the current situation.
However, the private sector accuses the government of not wanting to determine the fare of electric vehicles.
The private sector stakeholders accuse the government of dilly-dallying in fixing electric vehicle fares and said that the government does not want to engage in discussions with stakeholders.
“The DoTM does not talk to stakeholders. Meetings are held with various associations just for the sake of holding meetings. How will they know about our vehicles without holding discussion with us?” questioned Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, president of Sundar Yatayat.
He claims that there will be no problem in determining the fare of electric vehicles if the government holds discussions with the stakeholders.
Cost-saving analysis of electric vehicle
The main expense after buying a car is fuel. Currently, electric vehicles are running on short and medium-distance routes. Talking about diesel vehicles, for instance a microbus traveling from Kathmandu to Ramechhap, Sindhuli, or Bharatpur, consumes fuel worth at least Rs 3,000 per trip. It means that they will consume fuel worth Rs 90,000 per month and Rs 1.8 million per year.
In the same distance, an electric vehicle consumes electricity worth Rs 300. As per this calculation, it consumes electricity of Rs 9,000 per month and Rs 180,000 per year.
Comparing these two, using electric vehicles directly saves Rs 972,000 for the transport business.
Similarly, the regular maintenance cost of electric vehicles is very low. As it does not require servicing other than greasing, the electric transport business has more benefits.