Monday, 24 January, 2022

Bus Route Rationalisation in Dhaka

Pilot bus service launched

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 27 December, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Much-hyped ‘Dhaka Nagar Paribahan’ bus service has been launched on a route under the Bus Route Rationalisation (BRR) programme in a bid to streamline the transport sector and reduce traffic jam in Dhaka.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader virtually inaugurated the bus service on the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur route from the secretariat on Sunday.

Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam cut ribbons at the inauguration ceremony at Mohammadpur Bus Stand.

Some 50 buses under the single franchise of ‘Dhaka Nagar Paribahan’ started plying the new route from Ghatarchar in Keraniganj of Dhaka to Kanchpur in Narayanganj via Motijheel on an experimental basis.

Earlier, there were multiple routes in a 28-km distance from Ghatarchar to Kanchpur and around 156 buses of four companies used to ply the routes.

But the Bus Route Rationalisation (BRR) Committee formed to bring discipline to Dhaka’s chaotic bus operations has brought the path under a single route and will operate newly decorated 50 buses -- 30 double-decker BRTC ones and 20 from Trans Silva Bus Company -- under ‘Dhaka Nagar Paribahan’.

On September 9, 2018, the government formed the BRR Committee with the DSCC mayor as the convener and the DNCC mayor as joint convener.

The committee rearranged 269 complex bus routes of Dhaka into 42 under nine clusters. Each of the clusters was coded with different colours, including red, green and blue.

The Ghatarchar-Kanchpur route, part of route No. 9, has been named as Green cluster.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony as the chief guest, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Quader said, “We’re going to get relief from accidents and traffic jam in Dhaka through a disciplined mass transport system. The two mayors of Dhaka are leading the work and I’ll extend all kinds of support to achieve the target.”

He said Dhaka had been following the old city management and planning system which downgraded the city in many aspects, including pollution and unplanned development.  The minister thanked the two mayors for their concerted efforts to make Dhaka a planned city anew.

Speaking on the occasion, Taposh said the bus service is the beginning of Bus Route Rationalisation process to brining discipline on roads. “We’ll urge traffic police to be strict to enforce the rules and ensure that none is spared. The buses will operate on routes with permission. The buses can’t operate outside the permitted areas. We’re going to brining all buses under the route rationalisation process,” he said.

He urged the city dwellers to collect tickets from the designated counters or online and queue up near the bus stoppages for getting on.

Taposh said they have ensured both the monthly salary and appointment of the bus staff following the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He said, “Earlier, the bus drivers were disregarded and vilified. Today, they’re honoured. They get uniforms and salary from the bus company.”

The DSCC mayor dedicated the achievement of BRR Committee to late DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq as he envisioned the system to bring discipline on roads.

DNCC Mayor Atiqul said, “Today, we’ve started the bus operation on the 28-km route from Ghatarchar to Kanchpur via Motijheel which is under green cluster. The fare is fixed at Tk 2.15 per kilometre. We’ve made it mandatory for the drivers and his assistants to have uniforms and identity cards and the drivers must have valid licences.”

“We have no alternative to bus route rationalisation to end the mad race between buses. We’re trying to implement the bus route ratinalistiaon system in Dhaka. Today, we’ve formally set the journey towards the end,” he said.

Atiqul also urged the city dwellers to use buses instead of private cars to bring discipline on roads.

Later in the programme, the Dhaka two mayors boarded a newly decorated bus.

Dhaka-13 MP Sadek Khan, Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) Executive Director Neelima Akhter and transport expert SM Salahuddin Ahmed, among others, attended the inauguration programme.

Facilities for bus drivers, helpers

Talking to the Daily Sun, Shaown Ahmed, a driver of ‘Dhaka Nagar Paribahan’, said the salary has been fixed for drivers but not for their assistants. “Primarily, we’ve been told that we would be given Tk 15,000 as monthly salary for working 8-10 hours a day for the time being. But the salary of our assistants is yet to be fixed. It may be negotiated later.”

He said they were given uniforms to wear and identity cards to keep with them during while driving.