An initiative to rationalise the bus routes and bring all public buses and minibuses under few companies has remained stalled since the death of Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Annisul Huq who had taken up the move.
Virtually no progress was made after the last meeting in this regard was held on July 24, 2017, where around 2,000 city bus operators and workers agreed to the proposal of putting all private buses under a few companies.
In the meeting, the late mayor said the plan would be implemented soon.
It was proposed that under the initiative all private buses would come under six companies and 22 major routes to bring order to the chaotic city transport sector.
Since 2015, Dhaka North City Corporation has been developing the plan to be implemented by the government in cooperation with other stakeholders, including Dhaka South City Corporation and Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority.
The late DNCC mayor Annisul Huq was leading the initiative as per a directive from prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said transport leaders and consultants.
Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association secretary general Khandaker Enayetullah told New Age that after the mayor died, the initiative had come to a standstill.
Currently, about 3,000 transport owners under 200 companies are operating about 4,500 buses and minibuses in the capital, according to transport owners.
At present there are 246 routes while fragmented ownerships and routes are causing extreme competition.
According to the plan, the bus services will be brought under six – Pink, Blue, Maroon, Orange, Green and Violet - services and 22 major routes.
Under the proposed system, about 4,000 new buses and about 3,500 revamped buses will be introduced, new companies will be formed, trainings will be given, bus terminals will be modified and smart card ticketing system will be introduced.
SM Salehuddin, one of the consultants, said that if five mass rapid transit and two bus rapid transit routes were constructed by 2035 following Revised Strategic Transport Plan, they would carry around 17 per cent of the total passengers.
On the contrary bus service was the most popular mode of public transports in the capital as it was affordable, economically viable and financially sustainable, said the former executive director of Dhaka Transport Coordination Board.
If bus operation could be managed properly, it would not only reduce traffic congestion through quality service to all types of passengers, but also push smaller and non-motorised vehicles out of streets, he observed.
They would meet the DTCA officials soon to present their works for implementation of the initiative.
DNCC additional chief engineer Syed Qudratullah, talking to New Age, claimed that DTCA was working on the issue over which consultants had already been appointed.
‘When DTCA will give us the formal report on the proposal, our traffic engineering department will scrutinise it,’ he said.
DTCA executive director Syed Ahmed said they would meet the consultants soon.
According to RSTP, passenger demand for bus travel was 47 per cent in 2014 out of total passenger trips.
The demand will increase to 59 per cent in 2025 and 57 per cent in 2035 even after completion of all five mass rapid transit and two bus rapid transit routes.
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