Scooters best friends of girls in Kathmandu
By Ajita Rijal
Kathmandu, Mar. 13: Two wheelers, especially scooters, have proven a best friend to the girls and women of the Kathmandu Valley because of their ease and comfort in plying through the busy and congested streets of the valley.
Several city scooter riders have praised their two-wheelers for providing them an opportunity to smooth and easy travel in the valley, where traffic is often mired in heavy congestion and jams.
Chanda Adhikari is now a proud owner of her personal scooter that has made her life easier in many ways. It’s one of her best helping hands in daily affairs. “Scooter has become my intimate tool to manage my time, tackle the problems posed by the road congestion and Kathmandu’s terrible traffic,” Adhikari, an independent woman working at a finance company in the capital, said. “I bought this scooter with my own savings, and pay the monthly installment from my salary.” “It is a fun and relatively easy to ride a scooter. Moreover, it gives a sense of freedom to girls like us, while heading out from home,” said a law student, Puja Banjara.
It gives us the flexibility to fully enjoy outdoor travels, without being anxious as to how to reach home like in the past, she added. “My mom used to get worried until I reached home when I used to travel by public buses, now she is more relaxed, knowing I am on my own,” said Banjara.
“During rush hours, instead of whining in a packed micro bus or a tempo in a crowded road, a scooter can easily ply through traffic, so it also saves time”, she said.
Rama Neupane, a housewife, who has interest in stock market, said she had been earning money by taking care of things on her own. She had become multi-tasking lately and manage time well to do lots more than before - go to stock broker or banks, take care of the household chores, grocery shopping, and visiting her kids’ schools, besides attending other social functions.
“I do not need to wait for my husband to give a ride or get into a crowded bus or worry about the empty freeze out of groceries” she added. Sabnam Katwal, 22, thinks the main thing is the absolute “freedom”. With just two siblings and brother abroad, her parents busy, scooter has what made her life much easier as she does not need to depend on anything or anyone, but rather just whizz around on her own style. “Now I can’t imagine days when I used to nervously ask (expect help!) from friends for ride home, Now I offer one myself, it feels nice,” she said.
“I am a working woman and my scooter has helped me get rid of frustrations associated with having to wait at bus stops in rain or mud, scorching heat or even in a breezy winter, said Asmita Lamsal, who works at an NGO. “
Not only women, several men also prefer scooter for being handy which can be used to carry small household goods. “My scooter has become a family vehicle,” said Dharmendra Ghimire, a local of Kusunti. “My mom, dad and sister all use scooters for its ease and comfort,” he added. My parents can easily ride scooter, compared to motorcycle that could not at their age.
It is surprising that even older women have these days taken the painstaking process of learning to ride scooters, given the happiness that it would eventually give them once being able to be on their own and ride a scooter.
Rama Sharma, 52, a local of Budhanilkantha, was learning to drive at a driving centre. She said she was learning for passing a trail exam. “It will be my great deeds in life if I could get a driving license in my own,” she added.
However just like two sides of a coin: scooter ride does have its share of challenges as well, its relative size could be prone to accidents in narrow and slippery roads; even a small stone can pay huge price on a bumpy roads if it falls down, or reckless bus/vehicle drivers easily tend to ‘neglect’ scooter riders, plus it’s not advisable to ride on upward slopes etc..
“We need to be very cautious while driving; the loud noises produced by the bullet bikes sometimes distract our attention. The unusual overturn also adds problem,” said the scooter riders.
According to Samrat Man Tuladhar, Showroom Manager of Nepal General Marketing (NGM) Hero Scooter, located at Teku; of the total buyers of scooter 75 per cent are women, and aged between 18 to 35 years.
“Scooters are handy for working women for it being affordable and offering speedy mobility for routine works,” he said.
“The increasing participation of women in employment and education, and their resultant mobility needs have been a major driver,” added Tuladhar.
Narayan Kaji Shrestha is the secretariat member and spokesperson of the ruling Nepal Communist Party. Although he had staked his claim to the post of...