Kathmandu is the capital and the largest city of Nepal. The city is situated in Kathmandu Valley, at an elevation of appx. 1,355 m. It is inhabited by appx. 500 000 people.
The 13 km. trolleybus line connected Kathmandu and the satellite towns of Madhyapur Thimi and Bhaktapur to the east of the Capital. Technically speaking this was an interurban line.
The trolleybus system was opened in 1975, by way of utilizing technical expertise and a grant of 40 million Nepali Rupees, provided as a gift by the government of the People's Republic of China. 22 standard Chinese trolleybuses were also provided, adapted to left-handed operation. Additional technical support was granted by China in 1986. Also, 10 additional Chinese vehicles were given to Nepal in 1997.
The line used to be operated by the government-run Nepal Trolley Bus Service (NTBS), a branch of the Nepal Transportation Corporation (NTC). In 2001, however, the NTC was dissolved and the trolleybus operation was suspended, as it did not turn any profit since 1990. The reasons for NTC's failure were stringent government bureaucracy and overstaffing, coupled with cronyism in management that resulted in poor technical expertise and inept operational policy.
After 18 months of stoppage, an operating agreement was reached by the Kathmandu, Madhyapur Thimi and Bhaktapur municipalities that are served by the trolleybus line, to jointly revive and support the operation. The revitalization fund of 2 million Rupees was pledged, and trolleybuses rolled again. The system was operated by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC).
Less than a year later, the Madhyapur Thimi and Bhaktapur municipalities opted out of the operating agreement as the operation failed to attract riders and continued to lose up to 2 million Rupees a month. Consequently, the line was cut back and trolleybuses were now operated exclusively by the KMC via the 5 km. section within Kathmandu city limits only. Most wirework beyond city limits was removed.
A rather marginal and unreliable service was maintained during the last few years of operation, with sporadic service interruptions due to infinite losses and a perpetual debt.
Trolleybuses operated for the last time in 11.2008.
One year later, in 11.2009, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) decided to permanently shut the trolleybus operation and dissolve the undertaking due to chronic unprofitability. All assets were sold to private entities.
HISTORY OF NETWORK DEVELOPMENT
28.12.1975 - The 13 km. trolleybus line opens between Kathmandu and the satellite city of Bhaktapur.
15.12.2001 – The trolleybus operation is suspended.
01.09.2003 – The operation resumes between Tripureshwor and the Dpeot.
10.2003 – The operation resumes via the entire line between Kathmandu and Bhaktapur.
2004 - The line is cut back to the 5 km. section between Tripureshwor and Koteswor, within Kathmandu city limits only.
03.2004 – The trolleybus service is briefly interrupted.
07.2006 – The trolleybus service is briefly interrupted.
11.2008 – The trolleybus service is suspended.
11.2009 – The decision is made to permanently shut the trolleybus operation and dissolve the undertaking.
Tripureshwor, Kathamndu - Surya Binak, Bhaktapur (28.12.1975 – 15.12.2001; 10.2003 – 2004)
Tripureshwor – The Depot (01.09.2003 – 10.2003)
Tripureshwor – Koteswor (2004 – 11.2008)
[as of 1990]
Trolleybuses operate between 7:00-21:00. Trolleybuses run on irregular headways. The officially stated headway is 6 min. during rush hours, 12 min. other times. About 15 trolleybuses are operated in peak service. About 10 000 passengers are carried daily.
Trolleybus service is irregular and sporadic. The headway is around 20-25 min. The total running time along the remaining 5 km.-long line is 25-35 min., depending on traffic conditions. Only 3 vehicles are operated throughout the day. The rush hour is no longer recognized. Average passenger loads are just above the seated load.
The trolleybus service is suspended.
[as of 03.2007]
A total of 32 trolleybuses.
Shanghai SK541 (China): 001-022 (1974)
Shenfeng SY-D60C (China): 023-032 (1997)
Only 4-5 trolleybuses are operable, all of them are 33-year-old Shanghai SK541 vehicles, which despite their age are simpler to maintain and operate. Among surviving vehicles are 007, 013, 018, and 1-2 unidentified vehicles. All newer Shenfeng SY-D60C remain out of use due to complex maintenance requirements.
Additionally, Shenfeng SY-WG110 vehicles, rebuilt for left-hand operation, were to be delivered from China in 2004, but this deal never materialized.
Curiously, even though adapted for left-handed operation, older Shanghai SK541 vehicles retained the driver's seat on the left side, while newer Shenfeng SY-D60C vehicles have the driver's seat on the right.
[as of 10.2007]
The operation is sporadic. The trolleybus undertaking is in infinite debt, and is deemed unable to turn out profit. The loss of the section of the line to the satellite cities of Madhyapur Thimi and Bhaktapur has irreversibly curtailed any prospects of profitability.
A project on widening of Arniko Highway, the main trolleybus corridor, threatens the removal of wirework support poles, and the closure of the entire system. Alternative plans are voiced on running trolleybuses elsewhere in the city. One project calls for a trolleybus service via the Ring Road that surrounds the city.
The trolleybus operation is permanently shut down. The undertaking is dissolved.