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Inordinate delay in bus route franchise

Published : 11 Sep 2021 10:13 PM | Updated : 12 Sep 2021 01:00 AM

The initiative taken much earlier by the two city corporations to reduce traffic snarl and bring discipline on the roads, is repeatedly and inordinately delayed, although it is felt important. 

The experimental bus service was scheduled to start in the capital city from April 1 this year under a route-based company. Later it was postponed to September 7. However, it was not yet launched.

It has been officially named ‘Bus Route Franchise Piloting.’ As the pilot programme could not be launched in April due to Corona pandemic, Dhaka South Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said it would be launched from September 7.

The bus fare for such route has already been fixed. The fare on the routes in Dhaka Metropolitan city is currently Tk 1.70 per kilometre. However, the new system, proposes to increase fares by an additional Tk 0.50. As a result, the fare will be Tk 2.20 per kilometre.

According to Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), the plan could not be implemented due to lockdown from June to August 11. So, it could not be  officially launched on September 7.

Executive Director of DTCA Khandaker Rakibur Rahman said, “The matter has been delayed due to the pandemic situation. Our next meeting will be held in the first week of the next month. The possible date will be decided at the meeting by the committee.”

Earlier, the two city corporations have taken initiative to introduce buses of particular colour on certain route to bring discipline in public transport in the capital.

Buses of certain colour will run on certain route. The DTCA has drafted 42 integrated routes. Work has already started to set up the terminals.

People concerned said the experimental activities are being delayed due to lockdown and pandemic situation. The Bus Route Rationalization Committee has held 17meetings so far. Although it was decided to launch this service experimentally at every meeting, it was getting stuck for various reasons. The bus fare, however, has been fixed at the meeting on June 24.

According to the DTCA, there are currently 291 bus routes in the 250-square- kilometre city. But 80 percent of these routes are ineffective. At many places, there are only nominal routes, but no buses ply. On the other hand, there are many routes where more than necessary number of buses run. 

According to DTCA sources, some of the routes remain without bus plying. If we want to bring discipline in the transport system in Dhaka city, the number of routes has to be reduced.

However, the plan for rationalisation of bus routes was drawn up in 1997 and it was taken up by the Late mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, Annisul Huq, after he was elected mayor in 2015.

After his death in 2017, the then Dhaka South City Corporation mayor, Sayeed Khokan, was made the chairman of the Bus Route Rationalisation Committee and on September 27, 2018, he declared that he would make roads safer and free from congestion in two years.

According to BRTA, the biggest problem in Dhaka is plying of too many minibuses. There are now more minibuses on each route for which it becomes traffic control as a difficult task.