What is the way out? The steps taken by the government so far to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka city are isolated and scattered. It was once said that the construction of flyovers in some parts of the city would reduce traffic congestion. But even after the construction of flyovers, the traffic congestion did not decrease.
On the contrary, the situation has become more complicated in some places due to flyovers. After that it was said that once Metrorail is launched, there will be no traffic jam in Dhaka. The construction of Metrorail is underway. Will Metrorail reduce traffic congestion in the whole city? What about the areas outside the Metrorail? What will be the arrangements for transit passengers at each station to reach their destination?
The route of Metrorail like flyovers has been modified more than once. This has proved the lack of planning and inefficiency of the people concerned. The lack of an integrated plan to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka city is evident. According to a survey, private vehicles use about 50 per cent of the roads in Dhaka city, while they carry only 12 per cent passengers. On the other hand, it is possible to transport about 88 per cent passengers in 50 per cent big buses.
Therefore, it is necessary to introduce high quality integrated transport as an alternative to private vehicles. If four years ago former mayor Anisul Haque could be successful in launching an integrated bus service in Gulshan and Banani, why can't it be introduced in other areas? The service has recently been launched on a trial basis. It needs to be expanded. Long-distance bus terminals inside the city should also be shifted out of city as soon as possible.
The number of motor vehicles registered in Dhaka is about 1.76 million. Of these, 1.1 million have been registered in the last 10 years. But the number of roads has not expanded. The better the public transport service, the more people will be discouraged from using private cars. Roads will also be free of traffic jams. Illegal occupation, illegal parking, dumping of construction materials on the road and buses or other public transport picking up passengers in the middle of the road should be stopped.
In every modern and developed city, public transport is the main means of transportation. But it is quite opposite in Dhaka city. Most of the passengers travel here in rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and private vehicles. On the other hand, public transport such as buses and minibuses ply on the roads all the time. As a result, it sometimes takes up to two hours to cross a 30-minute route. Accidents occur frequently due to reckless competition among the public buses. In order to overcome this situation, integrated public transport should be introduced on all roads immediately.