Zahid Hossain Biplob
Sufferings of city dwellers and commuters have eased to a great extent since the introduction of mobile app-based ride-sharing services.
Among the ride-sharing services, the bike sharing service has gained much popularity in a short span of time among office goers, students and commuters in saving their valuable time.
An Uber spokesman said, sharing private vehicles can help cut congestion and ensure more efficient use of cars. “When the quality of a service goes up, cost goes down, demand will increase and people will go on trips they didn’t before,” said the spokesman while talking to Bangladesh Post.
The bike ride has witnessed unprecedented success in beating everyday traffic congestion in the capital. Besides, anarchy in the movement of CNG-run auto-rickshaws seems to have stopped to some extent. These days the CNG-run auto-rickshaws are found charging fare from the passengers as per meter.
The bike sharing service and other app-based ride-share services seem to be reforming the transport sector easing suffering of the commuters in the capital. For sure, bike sharing ride has brought revolutionary change in Bangladesh’s transport system, and also created scopes for livelihood. The Commuters are happy with the ride sharing services. For them the service is comfortable, cheaper and faster as anyone can avail these services anytime.
A private university student, Shahriar Islam Shuvo said, he always opted for rickshaw to go to Banani from his Gulshan residence every day to dodge traffic congestion. He said, he had to bargain with rickshaw pullers as they charged arbitrary fares. Expressing satisfaction over bike sharing service he said, bike sharing service is very helpful as bikes are available round the clock. He also said, the comfort and easy availability made it lucrative.
Ishrat Jahan, a BBA student said, she cannot go to university on time due to traffic jam and overcrowding in the buses. She said, she sometimes missed the buses and was often late in attending class. She added “I have to argue with bus conductors to get a ride on a bus during peak hours since there are lots of passengers on board.
However, ever since I started using Pathao, it has saved me time, and I can reach my varsity on time,” she added.
On the other hand, a service holder said, the ride sharing service via motorcycle was very much convenient for him. It was time-saving and cheaper, added he.
Another commuter said, he can now skim through traffic and reach his destination the fastest way.
As far as safety measures are concerned, all the bike drivers are well trained. The pillion passengers are given helmets too.
Upon a proposal of The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, the government has enacted a law that apps used by the service providers must have facilities so that both passengers and drivers can send signals to the police control room in case of emergency, it mentioned.
As per the draft, cars cannot charge more than the fare fixed under the Taxicab Service Guidelines 2010.
At present, the government-fixed fare for taxis is Tk 85 for the first two kilometres and Tk 34 for each subsequent km. Passengers have to pay waiting charge of Tk 8.50 every two minutes and Tk 20 extra for booking a taxi over the phone.
The app-based service providers, however, said the fares they charge are already less than that of taxi services.
The draft noted that cars, motorbikes, sport utility vehicles and microbuses used by individuals or families are on the rise, leading to traffic jam. Through the ride-hailing services, an individual will be able to rent out his private vehicle after meeting the requirements.
Once the ride-sharing service is introduced, it will help ease traffic jam, improve transport service and above all, owners of private vehicles will be benefited economically, mentioned the draft.
In May 2015, the USA-based Datavoxel Ltd launched the first app-based motorbike service — Share a Motorcycle (SAM) — in Dhaka city.
Later, the BRTA issued a notice saying that such services were illegal as motorbikes were registered privately, and that there was no scope for using those for commercial purposes.
When Uber, a popular app-based ride-hailing service, launched operation in Dhaka city in November, 2015, the BRTA said the service was run in violation of the country’s motor vehicle regulations.
Later, Uber and other firms urged the government to formulate a guideline for app-based services.
Zahid Hossain Biplob