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There is no monitoring of long distance transportation

Trans. by B.TUNGALAG

Do you believe that just ten years ago, 30 people would crowd into a van and drive for over one thousand kilometers? You probably would not believe it if you didn’t see it yourself.
Around ten years ago, vans were the only option for long distance transportation. Then, drivers charged whatever they wanted for transportation costs. The cost of long distance transportation from Ulaanbaatar to Khovd Province was 85,000 MNT. The cost of long distance transportation stabilized when new buses arrived in Mongolia in 2008. The use of vans began to decline.
Seniors like to go to the province of their birth by bus because buses aren’t overloaded with luggage and the cost is cheap. But people say they can’t see any difference between a bus and a van. Also, there is no monitoring on long distance transportation.
I left for Khovd Province at the end of July, when I took my annual leave. Some 50 passengers, including youth and elders, sat in the long distance bus with 36 passenger seats. Each passenger can bring 15 kg of luggage. If someone brings luggage over 15 kg, the driver charges 2,000 MNT per excess kg. The driver was quoting high costs for some luggage. The passenger bus couldn’t fit all the luggage in it, but the bus was loaded with luggage like a truck. The bus was loaded with passengers, filling its seats when the bus left the Dragon Center long distance transportation station. A worker at the station warned the driver, “Don’t take anymore passengers. Your bus is full now.” Unfortunately, the driver picked up five more passengers on the way to Khovd Province. The driver and passengers had made previous arrangements. It became quite difficult to get on and off the bus, because passengers put their luggage between seats and some 10 passengers sat on the luggage.
On board were American and French tourists travelling around Mongolia. At the start of the journey to Khovd Province, the driver’s manner was so nice. By the middle of the journey, his manner had changed. Some passenger asked to get off the bus and take a rest. But he said, “If you want to go with me, then shut up.”
Parents often requested to stop the bus because of their small children, but the driver got upset and said, “I can’t stop very often.” A woman who sat in front of me was scared of the driver and let her child urinate on the bus.
According to the tobacco law, no smoking is allowed on public transportation, but this law doesn’t seem to cover long distance transportation.
I stayed in Khovd Province for two days. I returned home on the same bus, once again crowded with a lot of people. The bus moved from the center of Khovd Province with passengers equal to seats, but the driver picked up more passengers from Mankhan, Zereg and Darvi soums. The police didn’t stop the overloaded bus, because the driver and police were already friends.
Forty-five companies currently operate 1,000 long distance buses in 68 directions.
Seventy to 80 percent of long distance buses are equipped with GPS. The Ulaanbaatar City Traffic Monitoring Center says they monitor the speed of transport and whether a bus is following its route or not. One official said that GPS even controls whether the number of passengers is in accordance with the number of provided seats.
It is impossible to monitor over 250 buses in service. GPS can transmit data but can’t we cannot use it for 100 percent of buses due to budget constraints. According to one survey, service on long distance transportation buses is terrible and cannot provide safety for passengers. Before, companies running long distance transportation services were required to obtain a special permit. Head of the Regulatory Agency for Auto Transportation Regulations A.Munkhbold noted that the National Center of Transportation, transport and road authorities in provinces, and transportation companies established a trilateral contract in 2012. This affects the quality and service of transportation, and it is why companies operating passenger transportation services require a special permit in every country.
That is why we are including these issues in the revised Law on Transportation. Long distance transportation drivers who drive over 400 km have to have a shift driver, have no less than five years experience driving specific classification vehicles, go through professional driver training, and pass authorization tests.
Drivers working in long distance transportation say they are professional, but the real situation is different. Drivers are bad mannered and all drivers are related.

Source: http://www.mongolnews.mn/i/54217

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=11611

Posted by on Aug 28 2014. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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