Banning slow-moving vehicles

21 June, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Slow-moving vehicles like CNG and battery-run auto-rickshaws are one of the potent causes of accidents on highways. Although plying of such vehicles on highways or city main roads is officially banned, these vehicles can still be spotted sneaking onto the thoroughfares allegedly with the blessing of corrupt traffic policemen and local politicians.

According to a report of a road safety organisation Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, slow-moving vehicles and motorcycles were behind most road accidents during the Eid rush. Motorcycles and three-wheelers were involved in more than 40 per cent of road crashes between May 30 and June 11.

Amid increasing number of accidents involving slow-moving vehicles, the government has decided to enforce the ban strictly. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said that the government would fully enforce the ban on plying of slow-moving vehicles within two months. This is welcome. But while implementing the ban, the government should also arrange for alternative transports and employment of the drivers who make a living now by driving the banned vehicles.

CNG-run auto-rickshaws could be an alternative to manually pulled rickshaws which is the slowest mode of transport and largely responsible for traffic jams. But due to the CNG drivers’ unwillingness to ply on short distance and habit of taking exorbitant fares this idea never got considered.

The practice in developed countries and even in neighbouring India is that taxi drivers will go to any destination the passengers wish to go. There is no bargaining and no refusal.

We too have a decade old regulation in this regard which says CNG run taxis are bound to go wherever a passenger wants and the driver will charge according to the fare metre. But sadly, it is flouted without any remedial measures.

The authorities would do well by bringing CNG-run auto rickshaws under strict control to make it a hassle-free mode of public transport to replace slow-moving vehicles, especially in cities.