Crowded roads force Millie Bus to suspend 165 buses
The company said it stopped the buses because the roads so crowded with carts selling fruit and other products that there was nowhere to stop.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a resident of Yaka Tot in eastern Kabul, said he and several neighbours would no longer be able to travel into the city because they could not afford the cost of a taxi.
Millie buses usually charge between 2 afghanis to 3 afghanis, where as a taxi would cost 10 afghanis to 20 afghanis per person, he said. “I urge the government to pay attention to the problems of the people and assign buses to Yaka Tot,” he said.
Habibullah, a resident of the 5th police district, had similar
complaints. He said there were not enough buses plying the Kot-i-Sangi route. “Sometimes during rush hour, people battle to get on the bus and there are fights and conflicts because the other vehicles charges higher fares.”
There are some private buses which charge a similar amount to the Millie buses, but cars charge 10-20 afghanis, he said.
Habibullah said the government needed to resolve public transport problems.
Ghulam Hazrat, the head of the Millie bus government enterprise, acknowledged they had stopped 165 buses, but said it was because parking bays on the road had been occupied by handcart sellers and there was not enough space for the bus to pull in.
The overcrowded areas in Kabul include Cinema Pamir, Deh Afghanan, Pul-i-Baghe Omomi, Froshgah, he said.
There was also an issue with a lack of bus stops which was preventing buses from stopping on Macro Ryan, Wazir Akbar Khan and Airport roads, he added.
Millie has 400 buses and 235 are active on 52 routes in the city, he said
If the traffic department and Kabul municipality provide bus stops, the company will start running some of the buses it has suspended, he said.
However Hazrat said the city needed a total of 2,500 buses to fulfill the need of the city of five million people. “The current buses cannot fulfill the need of even only 20 percent of residents of the city,” he said.
Hazrat said that they had asked the traffic department and the Kabul municipality to remove the handcarts selling fruit and other products from bus stops so that buses could operate as normal.
“Even though the traffic department and municipality have taken some action, it has not been effective.”
He said President Hamid Karzai had assigned a commission to resolve some of the problems of delivering city services. The commission is led by Mohammad Yousaf Pashtun, the advisor to president on city services, and comprises representatives from transport and civil aviation, interior and urban development, Kabul municipality, Millie Bus and the National Environmental Protection Agency.
The commission had already come up with some solutions for better public transport including more buses, electric buses, re-organizing the transport system, creating more bus stops and expanding the roads,
However, those solutions would take time and money, and in theshort-term, the best option would be to remove the handcart sellers, Hazrat said.
Khugman Ulomi, deputy of city services at the Kabul municipality,rejected Hazrat’s claims, saying it was the state of the buses
themselves which was reason so many were pulled off their routes.
“They should activate and repair their buses, we will remove thehandcarts from bus stops in an hour.”
However he said that overcrowding, lack of proper bus stops and lackof buses would continue to be key challenges for Millie Bus.
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