Dhaka, Bangladesh
Run-down buses of BRTC

Run-down buses of BRTC

Mismanagement, poor maintenance and corruption have rendered Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) virtually a useless organization. Corruption, irregularities and anomalies are so rife in the BRTC that people now begin to question if there is any utility of keeping this burden, nay, a white elephant on the public exchequer. Very few BRTC buses that are seen plying the streets of Dhaka look rather battered and ramshackle. Passengers may not get the best out of 600 new BRTC buses bought recently as the state-run corporation has a track record of damaging and ruining the vehicles well before their ages reach double digits. With loans from India the government has purchased 600 buses and 500 trucks from India. Some of the vehicles have already arrived and the rest are expected to join the BRTC fleet by April this year. The BRTC in 2011 imported 255 Daewoo buses at dollars 29.9 million. The vehicles were delivered in 2012 and 2013; but now only 138 of them are running. The BRTC owns1,445 buses, of which 921 are in service. Of the 524 out of service buses, 164 have to be written off as they are completely dilapidated and 360 need major repairs. The state-run transport agency incurred huge losses over the last two and a half years when it was supposed to be a big paying concern. Early demise of buses has been attributed as one of the factors to the loss the BRTC incurred. Lack of skilled mechanics, spare parts, inadequate and poor maintenance, poor decisions made by the authorities and corporation by a section of BRTC officials are stated to be the villain of the piece for the early expiry of the longevity of the buses. It has been found that properly maintained buses are financially viable for 10 to 20 years. But road safety campaigners and some staff said mismanagement and corruption by some officials were mainly to blame for the premature damage of the buses. The delayed supply of money to buy spares months after requisitions is another reason for the damage to the vehicles. Very often, buses are cannibalized for parts to keep other buses in service. Corruption at the depot level has been claimed as a major reason for the dilapidated condition of the buses. As regards fitness, the BRTC buses get damaged and dented while the buses of the same brand and models in the private sector are doing fine. Private bus owners opine that Tata and Ashok Leyland buses are commercially viable for at least 15 years subject to overhauling of engines every three years. But the same model of buses becomes inoperative within five to six years when the BRTC runs them. However, there, should be focus on greater investments in public bus transport system to remove the mess in transport sector. Besides, corruption must be eliminated from the BRTC to make it viable and profitable.

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