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04th-Nov-2018

Ridesharing service should have a guideline to ensure security

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THE app-based ridesharing service, introduced in 2016, is still running without any monitoring amid allegations of high fare, drivers' poor training and lack of safety measures. The 'Ridesharing Service Guideline 2017' came into effect on March 8 this year allowing commercial use of private vehicles via app-based transport services across the country but the guideline is yet to be implemented. In the meantime, the app-based ridesharing services have gained popularity particularly in capital.
Some deaths in motorbike accidents (particularly Pathao and Uber services) have however raised questions about the legal framework to operate this. Besides, sexual harassment of women availing this service has also become a matter of concern. Not only that, some drivers seek high fare from the passengers in rainy days or other social observances while some others directly deny to take passengers whenever they wish.  
According to BRTA, a total of 21 companies are providing ridesharing service. As per rule, all ridesharing companies and motor vehicle owners must receive enlistment certificates from Bangladesh Road Transport Authority. Of the companies, only 12 ridesharing service providers have so far been applied for the registration.
Among the companies - Pathao Limited, Shohoz Limited and Chaldal Limited applied for the registration in April, Akash Technology Limited, Golden Rain Limited, Obhai Solutions Limited, Uber Bangladesh Limited and Rider Rideshare Enterprise Inc Limited applied in May, Pick Me Limited and Easier Technologies Limited applied in July, Akiz Online Limited applied in August and Computer Network System applied in October this year.
At present, the Police are working with the companies to fix some security issues. The initiative has taken to protect the users or the riders from different crimes including sexual harassments, hijacking and even terrorist attacks, said the officials. However, the fare of other services by motorbikes and CNG-run auto-rickshaws are not being fixed in the guideline.
Several hundred unemployed youths have already taken it as their full or part-time profession while availability and lower prices have contributed to the initial popularity of the ridesharing. We do urge the government to immediately bring the entire service under a proper guideline.