Dhaka, Bangladesh
Traffic jam, dilapidated roads hit traffic system

Traffic jam, dilapidated roads hit traffic system

News Report Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) will introduce a total of 4,000 new buses to ease traffic congestion in capital city to relief the city dwellers. To end this DNCC Mayor Annisul Haque made a presentation at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) regarding the project in front of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on June 1. DNCC mayor made this presentation at a meeting on Transport communication of Dhaka. He said a total of 25 meetings were held with over 200 companies who run city buses in 174 routes of the capital. There are over 1000 bus owners in the Dhaka city under the 200 companies, he said adding "Now 4,000 buses will be run by six companies and reduce routes to 22 from 174." As per DNCC mayor's plan, he want to ply 4,000 new buses in these routes dumping the old and out dated 3,766 buses and mini buses in the city at a cost of Tk 1,850 crore of which Tk 650 crore provided as subsidy. He also planed to introduce smart card ticked system. DNCC mayor also proposed to provide loan to the bus owners at 4.5 per cent rate. In April Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said 4,000 more new modern buses would be put into plying various routes in the capital city to facilitate better transportation of the commuters. The minister came up with the statement while speaking to newsmen after the ninth meeting of Board of Directories of Dhaka Traffic jam, dilapidated From Page 16 Col. 3 Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) at Nagar Bhahan in the capital. However, nagging traffic jam, dilapidated roads, high bank interest rates, lack of tax incentives and high rate of membership of the so called Malik Sramik Samity stand in the way of introducing new buses on the streets in the city. Sources in the Dhaka Transport Coordinated Authority said Dhaka city requires 21 lakh trips daily to comply with increasing number of passengers. However, the number of trips is less than half of the total requirement. The Bangladesh economy incurs loss to the tune of 2.00 billion US dollars due to severe traffic jam. According to experts a bus can cross 18 kilometers an hour while the pace of buses is only seven kilometers in the Dhaka city. While talking to some transport owners, the correspondent came to know that after launching their buses on the street, they have to give toll to Malik Sramik Samity and law enforcing agency on daily or monthly basis. Even the state-owned Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) buses can't run on the streets unless permitted by Malik Sramik Samity (MSS). During the last 20 years, some 50 BRTC buses have been stopped because of pressure from MSS, strike and vandalism. Fazlul Qader Molla, former president of Bhola District Awami League, said he launched four new buses in the district bypassing Malik Samity as most of the buses operating in the district were old. He could not operate buses smoothly on the street as he refused to give toll to the Samity. Secretary general of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Samity Khandakar Enayetullah said there is no specific rule of becoming a member of Malik Sramik Samity by giving money. It was in practice long before. If there is report of toll collection or extortion in the name of organization, they inform the local administration to take necessary actions. The government this month a launched a drive against plying of 20 years old buses and mini-buses in the city. against this backdrop, transport owners have stopped plying buses on the streets causing immense sufferings to pedestrians. Some 30 per cent buses and minibuses operating across the country are 20 years old while 61 per cent are 10 years old. According to Bangladesh Road Transport Authorities, a total of 61,589 buses and mini-buses are registered with the organization. Out of those 40,822 buses are 10 years old while 18,054 buses and mini-buses are 20 years old. Another source of BRTA said after 1995, a total of 43,535 buses and mini-buses were registered while during the last 20 years, 2,13,162 three-wheelers and tempos were registered. However, there are 13 lakh three-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, Nasimon, Karimon, bhatbati and easybikes. Now the government is facing hassles to remove those from plying on the highways. Before launching new buses on the streets, one has to pay 1-15 lakh taka to get primary membership of Malik Sramik Samity. Transport specialist and professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology Shamsul Haque said there is no research on the demand and supply of transports for the whole country. He expressed the views investment in the public transports has dropped because of BSS syndicate. The existing transport can't meet public demand. The number of three-wheelers has taken place as there is shortage of transport . Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation former General Secretary Osman Ali said they have sent a proposal to the government on minimizing use of family cars to improve city transport system. However, the proposal has been lying with the government. Former Treasurer of Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity Abul Mansur Bubul said that there are 225 buses on the Dhaka-Gazipur route. The number of buses has drooped to 85. Earlier, the company named Provati-Banasri used to make six trips a day, but now the trip has dropped to only three. Association of Bus Companies launched city buses in Dhaka 10-12 years back with a view to improving public transport services. Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Samity Treasurer Abul Mansur Bulbul said Association of Bus Companies (ABC) have closed operation of a total of 44 companies in the last seven years due to nagging traffic jam, high prices of spare parts, rise of CNG gas several times, toll collection by law enforcing agency and Malik Sramik Samity and dilapidated conditions of city roads Sources said that bus companies like Rangthanu, Pubali, Myline, Tashiko, Shakti, Transilva, Blue-Bard, Kapotakkhu, One-line, Ervin, Modhumati, Karnaphuly, Greatwall, Pink City, Rahbar , Panjeri and Manzil have stopped their operation due to nagging traffic jam in the city. Meanwhile, China Shanghai Technology has offered to provide four thousand modern electric buses for Dhaka city with the view to ease traffic snarl replacing the old unfit ones. The proposal came up in a business meeting between the members of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) on April 27. ACFIC official Hua Lee said, "At first we will provide a few buses on experimental basis. If it works, a total of four thousand buses will be provided as a package."

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