Directives of the prime minister office to ensure discipline on Dhaka roads are being flouted. The authorities have made no visible progress in implementing these directives in nearly one month.
The PMO, on 16 August, issued a 17-point directive, asking the authorities to take up certain measures, including keeping the doors of running buses closed and allowing passengers to alight and get down from the buses only at the bus stops.
Transport sector experts said at least 7 of the directives could have been implemented promptly, but they were not.
Moreover, transport workers are defying the decisions of owners’ association not to operate buses on contract basis to curb road accidents. Most of the buses of the capital are still plying on daily contract.
PMO’s directives flouted
On Tuesday and Wednesday, gross violation of the directives were evident in at least eight areas of city.
One of the directives was to display drivers’ and helpers’ names with pictures, the driving licence and mobile numbers at two prominent places on the bus. This reporter found no such display in at least 25 buses on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The directive of keeping the doors of running buses closed and allowing passengers to get on and down from the buses only at the stoppages were also flouted. On Wednesday, the buses were seen stopping at and taking passengers from random places.
Motorcyclists’ are also violating the directives. The riders were not wearing helmets as per the instruction.
Moreover, this reporter found at least five foot over bridges in a dirty condition.
Jaywalkers were also seen crossing the roads risking their lives.
Chairman of center for urban studies Nazrul Islam told Prothom Alo, the government lacks the commitment to stop anarchy on the roads. The people also have a tendency to violate the law. Political resolve and commitment from the high-ups of the government is a must to bring discipline in our roads.
Contract system is still in place
Transport sector experts said, contract-based driving is one of the main reasons of accidents on the city streets.
Under contract system, drivers and conductors have to give the owners fixed amounts at the end of the day or shift, leading to frantic races to get more passengers.
In face of countrywide protests by students demanding safe roads, the owners association on 8 August declared that no public transport would run on city roads on contract basis. The association also declared to rescind membership of the company if any owner of their company operates buses on contracts.
But the decision is being defied as this reporter talked with drivers and conductors of at least 10 city buses who are still running on contract.
Owners association revoked membership of 5 bus companies for running their bus on contract but they are still plying on the road as they still have their registration valid.
Khandker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, however, said they will stop contract system. It might take a little more time, but they will change the system.
BUET’s accident research institutes’ former director Moazzem Hossain said, owners and workers are controlling the transport sector at their will. The government neither has the capacity nor the manpower to implement those directives.
Concerted effort from political parties and general people is needed to establish rules in roads, he added.