A planned city bus route yet a dilemma

20 January 2021

THE planned company-based bus service on the Bosila-Motijheel route is going to be like that of the traditional trip-based services for not following the procedures of a joint venture company. Sources said the company is neither formed under the office of the joint stock companies nor it has shareholders and capital investment.
 Dhaka Bus Owners Association (DBOA), assigned to form the company has merged three companies having around 100 owners with 200 buses. It is found that the names of the companies operating buses on the Bosila-Motijheel route, the number of owners and buses were totally different from those on the lists prepared by Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) and DBOA.
A special committee has announced the launch of company-based bus service. Under the leadership of the mayors of two Dhaka City Corporations, the committee was formed to work on bus route rationalisation (BRR) during its 13th and 14th meetings. The DTCA as a member secretary has been taking necessary steps to develop route facilities including bus bays, depot and bus terminals. It will also provide necessary support to all stakeholders with the help of Dhaka South and Dhaka North City Corporations — DSCC and DNCC.
The pilot project has been planned to be launched without following all necessary procedures. As the transport sector is grappling with multiple problems including political influence and corruption, the pilot route has been prepared to give a start or sensitise the people. But the new pilot project would not be successful unless the government provides necessary financial support to bus owners. The government is yet to fix the fares of buses, bus bays, stations with passenger sheds and terminals.
It seems unlikely that the routes fixed would be fairly allocated — surely political nepotism would play a big role in the getting of major routes. On top of that if the government has to subsidize the owners and set up passenger sheds and other necessary accoutrements it will be subsidizing an already decrepit sector. It would be much more financially viable to increase road width and employ more MRTs and set up underground trains as well. Buses are only going to clog up roads even more — considering that Dhaka city has only 7 per cent of its area as roads it would not make sense to increase the buses of all routes.

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