High Volume Transport

Vital transport research to ensure accessible, affordable and climate friendly transport for all.

Recovery from COVID-19 impact on public transport on Nepal


To provide recommendations to contribute to the recovery of public transport after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Potential impact

Recommendations to contribute to the recovery and safer operation of the public transport in Nepal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Challenge

The entire public transportation sector in Nepal is privately financed and operated. The government regulates the sector but provides no subsidies. Even as the government has opened public transport, not all operators have started operation because of financial difficulties caused by COVID-19 lockdown. The depth of this crisis has not been reliably assessed and the impact on the workers and their livelihoods has not been documented. While the operators have demanded interest-subsidised re-financing loans and fare hikes, the government is yet to announce any relief package.


A rapid assessment has been carried out of the economic losses incurred in the public transport sector during the pandemic. Risk mitigation measures have been identified to enable public transport to be re-opened using five vehicle types: large buses, microbuses, auto-rickshaws, taxi cars, and motorcycles taxis in Kathmandu Valley.

To carry out this rapid assessment, all available documentation has been reviewed including official instructions, guidelines for public vehicle operation before and after the pandemic. Stakeholders in the public transport sector have been interviewed including vehicle owners and vehicle owner organisations, government officials, and informed stakeholders.

Real time data have been obtained from surveys of samples of five type of vehicles and passengers; and on site observations of the health safety measures taken by the vehicle operators and passengers.

Information gathered by the survey and supplemented by KIIs and FGDs has been analysed and the findings compiled and reported. In addition, we have been able to establish relationships between vehicle types and levels of risks under current operating guidelines. The findings will enable regulators and vehicle operators to devise risk-rated changes in the current guidelines.

The findings from the two components produce policy recommendations for low-income countries on how to mitigate the economic impact of pandemics, such as Covid-19, and how to restore operability of the public transport sector in countries with similar vehicles mix during a pandemic.


The study recommendations will contribute to the recovery of the public transport sector and to safer vehicle operation in Nepal. The recommendations are to be presented to Nepal Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation. These recommendations have also been disseminated widely through digital media for the general public.