A meeting of the House of Representatives (HoR) on Wednesday directed the government and the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to make preparations for the operation of taxis in order to facilitate public in traveling.

The Development and Technology Committee of the Federal Parliament directed the government to make arrangements to allow taxis to operate observing health protocols during the ongoing lockdown.

As the government has allowed almost all businesses to run on condition that they follow health protocols issued by the World Health Organisation, the Ministry of Health and Population and COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) concluded that taxis should also be allowed to operate in the same manner.

Public transport operators, including taxi entrepreneurs, have been staging protests saying that they are unable to repay loan installments and stating serious repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on their livelihood.

“We will allow taxis to operate but taxi drivers should compulsorily wear masks and they should not carry more than two passengers at a time,” said Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director-general at the Department of Transport Management.

The Kathmandu Valley has 12,385 taxis, and twice as many drivers who work in day and night shifts.

Last week, in a meeting with Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Basanta Kumar Nembang, transport entrepreneurs had warned the government of operating vehicles as a protest in case it ignored their demands and failed to extend them support through immediate relief measures.

Meanwhile, the House panel a couple of weeks ago had asked the Ministry and DoTM to prepare a plan for the resumption of public transport in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.