When will Dhaka get smart buses?
DOT Desk: In recent times, Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, has seen significant infrastructural advancements with the introduction of the metro rail, elevated expressways, and expanded multilane roads. These developments aimed to transform the city’s transportation landscape, offering a glimpse of modernity. However, amidst these transformations, the plight of public buses remains a stark reminder of the challenges faced by the city’s commuters, reports Dhaka Tribune.
The state of Dhaka’s public buses paints a contrasting picture against the backdrop of progress. Despite the visible changes in infrastructure, the majority of public buses continue to operate in deplorable conditions, reminiscent of a bygone era. They are often described as old, broken-down vehicles resembling mere boxes of scrap metal. According to recent statistics provided by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), out of the 41,462 buses in the capital, a staggering 21,445 buses are deemed unfit for service. This alarming figure underscores a systemic issue plaguing Dhaka’s public transport system. These unfit buses, numbering half of the total fleet, pose a significant challenge to commuters’ safety and comfort. “A strong commitment is needed from the government to address the challenges facing Dhaka’s public transport system,” emphasized Transportation Engineering expert and BUET Professor Md Shamsul Hoque. “Without improved bus services, the vision of a smart Bangladesh remains unattainable.” The state of Dhaka buses.
A closer examination of the operational buses reveals a distressing reality. Many of these vehicles traverse the city’s streets in discoloured and shabby conditions. Broken windows, missing doors, and dilapidated interiors characterize their appearance. Passengers often endure uncomfortable journeys, with some seats in such poor condition that they pose risks of injury and damage to clothing.
Moreover, a pervasive bad odour and the presence of cockroaches further compound the dismal experience for passengers. Operating these unfit and unsanitary buses not only undermines commuters’ well-being but also detracts from the city’s aesthetic appeal, contributing to a sense of urban decay.
The origins of this transportation crisis trace back to regulatory shortcomings and lax enforcement of existing standards. Despite regulations mandating the retirement of buses older than 20 years, the implementation has been inconsistent.
Previous efforts to remove outdated vehicles from circulation through raids and enforcement campaigns yielded temporary results, only for old and unfit buses to reappear on the roads shortly after.