Passengers in Dhaka and outside Dhaka often faced problem in getting in and getting down from speedy buses. It caused accident and even death often.
Newspapers reported on these road accidents and their causes. But the bus drivers and helpers don’t change their bad habit of pulling and dropping passengers from speedy buses. Bangladesh transport sector is obsessed with various problems and these problems mostly with the law not abiding tendency with the transport labours as drivers, helpers and conductors.
Whenever, after turning pages of newspaper we notice news on road accidents and deaths. The road accident is not decreasing but it is increasing day by day. The deaths from road accident may be just statistics to someone but it seriously matters to those whose family and relative becomes the victim.
According to the statistics of Bangladesh Road and Transport Authority, there are almost 29.48 lakh registered vehicles in the country. The number of licensed drivers is not equal to the number of vehicles. There are some drivers who used fake driving licence which caused death to general passengers.
There are allegations that the semi-skilled or unskilled persons got driving license in exchange of bribery. The proposed law suggests increasing the qualifications of both drivers and helpers. The qualification to get a driving license will require completion of class eight certificates. And it also suggests that the helpers’ or conductors’ age will be at least 18.
The real scenario is that there are many drivers and helpers who are under 18. This is blamed as one of the main reasons of fatal road accident.
Recently the Cabinet Okayed a draft law on Road Transport Bill 2017. The proposed draft law will replace Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983. The government is planning to reduce rampant road accidents these days by updating the law. The proposed bill also have clause like as fine for those who will seat in the seat reserved for women. Another important side of this bill is provision of fine for reckless driving, overtaking tendency between two transports, if the transport takes off the passenger without stopping, if helpers drive the vehicle. There is also provision for fine if more than two persons ride in a bike in the highway, and if the passengers and drivers of the bike don’t have helmets for each of them.
Some buses have reserved seats for women while some others don’t. Every bus and transport should have reserved seats for women and especially for disabled persons. And the BRTA authority fixed that there should be at least 9 reserved seats for women and disabled persons. The proposed law legally gives the provision of reserving seats for women and disabled persons.
Sometimes the problem caused with student fair in the buses. Student fair means half fair by the students in the bus. This is not fixed by any act or law but Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Kader gives directives in this case few times. In most cases it is seen that the bus drivers do not accept student fair in different parts of the country. Or sometimes the student are forced to pay three-forth part of the fair than the half fair.
The Government should made law in terms of student fair in the act. Bangladesh has more than 4 crore students currently reading in different institutions.
It is a common scenario in the Dhaka city and in most other cities that the vehicles sometimes don’t stop while drop their passengers from bus. The drivers and conductors force the passengers to get down from the speedy bus. This is one of the mains reasons for accident of getting in and getting down in a speedy bus or other vehicles. The drivers and conductors should be obliged to follow this rule. They might stop at designated places before taking and dropping passengers.
The so called seating service allegedly extract double fare from the passengers, the policy makers should also address this issue. Actually buses stop in every bus stoppage and carry passengers more than their seat capacity. But they called themselves direct sitting service and demanded extra money. These so called special services claimed double fare from the passengers.
The bus owners associations decided not to run seating service or special service to claim extra money after 15th April, 2017. The Government move against extra transport fare through mobile court is plausible. The BRTA authority should arrange monitoring of bus services all the yearlong.
Only a few days monitoring cannot change the situation. The bus owners, drivers, helpers all should be respectful towards Government order.
The policy makers should be more aware about the implementation of the law while formulating the policy. Proper implementation and monitoring of the implementation should be ensured. There should be an authority that will check the implementation of the Road Transport Bill 2017. The policy should focus more strongly on the issue of giving driving license. Unlicensed drivers cause more road accident and deaths than licensed drivers. The law enforcement authority should be strict to implement the law while anyone violates the provisions of the law. The law enforcement agencies should not let go the malpractices in terms of bribery or other means of corruption.
Only strict law making cannot give sustainable solution to the transport sector but strict implementation and monitoring is necessary for better transportation. The monitoring cell should be established almost in every parts of the country as per the requirement.