According to the latest report of the ministry of information and communication (MoIC), 9,325 new vehicles were added in 2011 alone taking the total vehicle number to 62,707. Of the total registered vehicles, approximately 8.5 percent have Government (BG) registration with 91 percent having private (BP) or other registrations.
As of May end this year, the number of motor ve- hicle increased to 65,924, mostly prior to March 2012.
Owing to the ever-growing number of motor vehicles in the country, improving road safety has become a challenge particularly in the urban areas, the report says. Road crashes have resulted in loss of many innocent lives every year, apart from causing trauma and distress to the bereaved families and straining the economy through substantial economic loss, states the report.
With public transport services now available in most places with motor- able roads, priority of the government has now shifted towards improving road safety. Future intervention will therefore, focus on public education, safety awareness, and enhancing enforcement of transport regulations.
Being the nodal agency responsible for road safety, the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) has always been concerned about the safety of the passengers and road users alike. While the rate of motor vehicle crashes in Bhutan remained at 2.365% and 2.191 % of the total registered vehicles respectively for 2010 and 2011, the rate of road deaths stood at 15 and 17 per 10,000 registered ve- hicles respectively for the same years. These figures are considered high by international standard.
The MoIC report also mentions that the Bhutan Urban Transport System (BUTS) project, to study the feasibility of intro- ducing eco-friendly mass urban transport system using clean fuel for Thimphu and Phuntsholing, has been completed through the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
There has been a substantial increase in the revenue collected and deposited into the government exchequer. RSTA continues to collect substantial amount of revenue to finance the growing development needs of the country.
Revenue sources include the motor vehicle registration fees, driver licensing fees, motor vehicle fitness testing fees, and other allied activities including fines and penalties for transport-related offences and violations.
Among many options studied, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has been recommended as the best option for Thimphu. BRT buses are high capacity buses (60 seats) which meet high European emission standard. This technology is proposed to be upgraded to hybrid technology.
Study has been com- pleted but the actual implementation is likely to take some time in view of potentially high investment and time taken to develop BRT-related infrastructure or other civil infrastructure that need to be created. This project is proposed under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement and foreign investors have given some indication of their interest to participate in such a project.
Under the BUTS project, study on the establishment of an inter-city bus terminal adjacent to Olarongchhu or at other appropriate location under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is also being studied jointly with private sector. However, the actual implementation of this project will greatly depend on the outcome of consultation with the gov- ernment agencies and the land owners, and various other factors.
Courtesy: Bhutan Today