The government’s proposal to reduce the number of routes failed because the decision-makers ultimately favoured transport owners instead of passengers
The government in 2013 tabled a proposal at the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) that the number of routes in the city should be reduced to 22 from 156.
However, the number of routes has not decreased. In fact, it has gone up to 330, aggravating the chaotic scene in the transport sector.
The government also proposed at the time that five companies would run bus services as a way of restoring order on city roads.
BRTA sources said the move failed because the decision-makers ultimately favoured transport owners instead of passengers.
Khandker Enayetullah, secretary general of the Bangladesh Bus Owners Association and general secretary of the Dhaka Bus Owners Association, said traffic congestion in Dhaka city is at an intolerable level compared to other parts of the country.
He said the number of new cars on Dhaka streets has been increasing every day.
"There are more rickshaws operating without permission than those legally permitted. Besides, there are thousands of motorbikes. The same situation is found in the districts adjacent to Dhaka," explained Enayetullah.
He said the number of roads is not increasing as desired. "If these things cannot be controlled, traffic jam will remain at the same level."
The transport leader said the problem will not be solved by making new flyovers only. New roads need to be built.
"First of all, rickshaws should be removed from the main roads. The number of bikes should be reduced and there should be arrangements for parking buses," he suggested.
"At present, there are so many transport companies. The government and transport owners are working together to form several companies that will control the whole operation.
"A particular route will be given to a particular company to run its buses. This is aimed at putting a stop to the race among buses of different companies that often leads to deadly accidents at present," added Enayetullah.
At present, the number of registered vehicles in Dhaka city is 1,517,929.
There are 35,834 buses, 10,721 minibuses, 21,498 autorickshaws, 708,970 motorbikes and 291,082 cars.