No new bus route in Dhaka

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) will not provide new route permit for public bus in the capital. If situation demands, Bus Route rationalisation Committee would consider the demand before BRTA gives the permission. The decision was taken at a board meeting of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) recently, with an aim to ensure discipline in public transport services and introduce company-based bus services. At present, there are 289 bus routes in the capital where 159 companies are operating public bus services besides the BRTC.

According to BRTA, till May last, the number of enlisted buses and minibuses in Dhaka is 45,106. Of them, 17,699 buses and 1,134 minibuses were enlisted after 2010. According to a World Bank estimate, Dhaka’s population increased by 150 percent during the last decade, creating an acute transport crisis in the city streets.

In reply to a query over whether the decision to stop route permit for buses in Dhaka would accelerate the transport crisis, city transport expert Dr SM Saleh Uddin recently told the media: “The decision has been taken to introduce company-based bus services. Even though the commuters of the capital might face problems for the time being, the decision would help ensuring coordinated transport system in the future.”

“For rationalising the bus routes, the service providing companies as well as the bus routes have been revised thoroughly. Providing new route permit would contradict the whole plan,” he added. Dr Salahuddin, also a member of Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, said, “We have finalised almost everything. We hope to streamline the total bus services in the capital by the next year.”

Meanwhile, bus owners themselves are not opposing the decision of stopping new route permit. In this regard, Road Transport Owners Association Khandaker Enayetullah said, “Rationalising bus route is one of the good initiatives of the ruling government. We wholeheartedly support any good initiative.” DTCA sources said the number of bus routes would be drastically reduced to 22, after analysing different reports prepared by different related organisations. Buses of six fixed companies would run on these routes.

Already search for places to construct depot for buses of those companies has started. Members of a committee led by Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon have visited a number of probable places including Kachpur, Jhilmil, Hemayetpur, Gazipur and Purbachal. Road Transport and Highways Department have initiated for the feasible study for construction of those depots and terminals.