Dhaka, Bangladesh
Transportation system skimpy More bus services needed to replace private cars

Transportation system skimpy More bus services needed to replace private cars

Nazrul Islam

Nazrul Islam If you go to see a lady for wedding in Dhaka city, the ordinary question that you might come across is if you have a private car or not. Instead of asking if you have your own apartment first, why the potential marriage partner made query for a car? Is car more important than house/apartment? Yes, at least in Dhaka, because the transport system in Dhaka is so poorly planned that almost every person specially service holder women have to suffer for not having private cars. We have not sufficient bus services for which especially in the peak office hours, our people have to fight overnight to get into public buses. In 1990s, when we consented to the notion of open market we were supposed to resolve if we would allow private cars or private buses to take lead of our roads. Instead of choosing buses, we chose private cars. That was the root cause for our suffering in Dhaka along with many other cities in Bangladesh. While we needed thousands of buses, our policy makers ran after private cars. It seems, as if, people having no private cars do not deserve to live in big cities like Dhaka, Chittagong etc. From 2000 onward, the situation has been altered substantially. The number of private buses has increased a lot. But when middle class people found themselves sitting , suppose, with the peon or cleaner of their own offices, the situation forced many to buy cars by taking bank loan, if not possible from own source. All men are alike but class is something that we cannot repudiate. When a service holder putting on suit and tie has to use a local bus usually murkiest and shabbiest, naturally he might feel distraught. Most age-old local buses of Dhaka are just scraps and nothing else. However, the status quo has started to be changed with the appearance of fresh buses that have been trying to re- introduce the concept of sitting service in premium price in true sense of sitting service. Mentionable that around 40 lakh workers is directly or indirectly involved in the road transport sector in the country, according to the Sramik federation. We have many taxi cabs that comparatively well offs are likely to use. Recent addition to this is UBER car which is an international car rent system used by internet. It has eased the lifestyle of many middle class people who have no cars of their own. In Dhaka many people were ready to pay for a good transport for which UBER came to Dhaka city. UBER is now the most popular transport in Dhaka. We have thousands of CNGs but still compared to population it was not sufficient. Now UBER have been sharing the load of CNGs and Yellow cars. The disposable income of the populaces of Bangladesh claim that many of them are capable to use air conditioned buses. But except BRTC bus, we do not have sufficient air conditioned buses. We have seen movement of air conditioned buses in Dhaka especially in Uttara - Motijheel route previously which was stopped later. At least for female these AC buses were better alternative to private cars. Only by increasing the number of AC buses, private cars could have been decreased in Dhaka and Chittagong. However, our intercity bus services have developed very positively in last 20 years. Both AC and Non-AC buses having quality service have ensured comfort and safety to inter-city passengers. Many say: We have such luxury buses that are as much at ease as air plane. Intercity buses have brands like Mercedes Benz, Volvo etc. Another addition is air plane service. Since people have been using air plane frequently, number of planes have been increasing. On the occasions like Eid or any 3-day continuous government holiday, seats of planes are reserved minimum a week ago. Corporate world allow their executives and high ups to use air plane at office cost called TA meaning Transport Allowance. Bangladesh Biman, United Air, Novo Air have been now flourishing with the blessings of corporate Transport Allowances. When you need not pay personally for office journey to use plane, which will bother to go by air? For middle and lower middle class motor bike service called Pathao has become popular in Dhaka. It is cheap enough to take you from one place to another within short time. People who are not much capable to use rent car or Uber use Pathao service in Dhaka. Interestingly enough, people's dependency on launch service has not reduced yet in spite of growth of the inter-city buses. Many people choose to use launch service as more comfortable and cheaper than inter-city buses. Our train service has also improved in last fifteen years. We have AC train service now. The AC compartments of train are very demandable for passengers. In crowded Dhaka city train is also popular specially to move from Kamalapur area to Tongi. All incoming and outgoing trains of Dhaka stop in Airport Train Station as well as Kamalapur Rail Station. In cities like Dhaka and Chittagong, motor bike is the customarily popular transport for middle class people who use it comfortably. Many professions like profession of journalist, marketing representatives demand such fastest transport like motorbike. Since we have not become that much efficacious to decentralize Dhaka city, we have been making flyovers as many as possible to double our transport movement area. These flyovers have crossed rail crossing where there were traffic jam previously. Traffic jam in rail way crossing have reduced in many cases for these flyovers in Dhaka. u Page 22 Transportation system skimpy From Page 21 Many think the number of private cars have started to upsurge in large scale when people have got the opportunity to run private cars by Gas instead of petrol and octane, because CNG run cars have been proved to be very cost effective in Dhaka city compared to petrol-led cars. It is humorously told half of the private cars of Dhaka belong to the ownership of bankers since bankers get car loan and drivers salary from banks easily to buy private cars. If these banks had introduced office buses instead of giving cars on staff loan, load on our private buses during peak hours could have been reduced substantially. It seems we have sufficient transports but for lack of proper management and adequate policy have made us sufferers. People of defense service and police force usually use their own official transports for which the transport system of Dhaka need not worry of their load. Different ministry as well as corporations of government also uses their own transport for staff that work as blessing for common people as they reduce public load at least to some extent. In Bangladesh especially in Dhaka people use private cars not only for comfort but mainly for lack of adequate transport system. There are too many passengers to load our existing number of buses. If we can ensure sufficient bus services, number of private cars will automatically reduce that will remove our long-suffered traffic jam and transport shortage at the same time. As such, Bangladesh government has already been considering the issue of increasing bus service at large scale especially within Dhaka by deciding different color buses for different routes. As is thought by many, we cannot blame transports for traffic jam in Dhaka, because our roads have not amplified that much compared to growing population of Dhaka. Again, our failure to decentralize major cities like Dhaka and Chittagong should have been properly compensated by developing more roads and highways and sufficient public transport for them. According to the car importers, around 19,000 imported reconditioned cars have been added to Dhaka traffic in the 2015-16 fiscal year (Source-Dhaka Tribune).When the bus contractor guides the bus driver, suppose, in Dhaka during driving saying "baye plastic", "samne plastic", subconsciously they make a sarcasm by using the term "plastic" to refer to the private cars that interrupt movement of large transport like buses more often and causes traffic jam unexpectedly. We need to get rid of these "plastic" by ensuring more and more bus services in busy cities as early as possible. The writer works in a Private Commercial Bank

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