Flying from Paro airport would become a tad easier soon, at least for those who do not have pick up and drop off transport facilities. Thanks to three shuttle buses launched by the Bhutan Airport Shuttle Service (BASS) last Monday.
BASS, a private agency, would start the formal operation of the 32-seater buses a week from now from Changlingmithang in Thimphu to the Paro airport and vice versa.
The proprietor of BASS, Kinzang Wangdi said the buses would operate daily and the frequency of the travel would depend on the flight schedule of Drukair and Tashi Air.
Meanwhile, passengers would be levied Nu 200 each for the bus service and they can purchase ticket online from Druk Ride (official ticketing partner of BASS).
The buses are equipped with cooling and heating services, reclining seats, and mobile charging ports. There are also designated seats for the elderly citizens, women with toddlers, disabled person along with Wi-Fi access facilities.
Gracing the event of the launch, the information and communications minister, Karma Donnen Wangdi said the service is timely because the increase in the frequency of air traffic and people travelling abroad has resulted in increasing road traffic along the Thimphu-Paro highway and at the Paro airport.
He also added that the government is concerned about the ever-increasing toxic emissions from vehicles.
. “We therefore hope that the ‘Airport Shuttle Bus Service’ will not only address our commuting needs, but also ease traffic congestion and reduce vehicular emissions,” the minister said.
“The government has always placed priority for the introduction of mass public transport service in the country,” he added.
The minister envisions that electric buses plying as shuttle buses and city buses as viable transport options for public in the future.
Recalling a similar service started by the Department of Air Transport in 1980, Kinzang Wangdi said it was discontinued due to a fewer frequency of flight and travelers abroad.
Further, the BASS proprietor divulged that the buses were purchased as per the criteria set by the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA).
Director General of RSTA, Pemba Wangchuk said the number of cars plying on the Thimphu-Paro highway would be reduced with the introduction of the shuttle bus service and people can travel with comfort and luxury.
Looking at the viability of the business, Pemba Wangchuk said the ministry gave the work to the private entity. “If we want to reduce the number of cars in the country, an only alternative is public transport,” he added.
Apart from Druk Ride, passengers, meanwhile, can also buy tickets at the RSTA counters and at the counter outside the arrival hall at Paro airport.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu