People's suffering on Dhaka streets is no longer news. But it certainly is news whenever there is any sort of relief in the public transport of the capital. Most of the people of the city of about 20 million endure immense sufferings while commuting to their destinations -- their offices, hospitals and educational institutions.
Ill-fated city dwellers have to endure not only sufferings but even face death. It is not known whether anyone is losing their life while you are reading this article. Two motorcycle riders were killed in a road crash near Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital on this day. In another accident, a motorcyclist died after being hit by truck in Dhaka’s Shahbagh area. Such death on the road has has become a common phenomenon in the capital.
There is no updated data available on road accidents in the capital. A survey by the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology) in 2018, reported that 24 people on an average were killed in road accidents every month from January to July this year whereas the number was 23 in 2017 and 12 in 2016 respectively, according to a Prothom Alo report.
The survey also shows that these accidents cause damages worth Tk 60,000 million a year.
Anarchy in the city streets is also nothing new. This situation has been persisting for long. The more affluent section of society that use private cars can hardly conceive the ordeal in the public transport. The affluent section includes those in charge of transport and traffic management in the capital. This section of people may bear the brunt of traffic congestion, but turn a deaf ear to public sufferings. If these managers would have travelled in public transport, the city street would see a radical change.
A few years ago, students in the city as well as across the country took to the streets seeking safe roads after two college students had been killed on Airport Road. Students even had demonstrated how to manage the city roads. This was an embarrassment not only for the government but also for the relevant departments that are supposed to maintain an order in the city. Following the safe road movement, the government enacted a law which came into effect in November 2019. The implementation of the law is still a far cry as various stakeholders are opposed to it.
Against this backdrop, anarchy and mismanagement in the city transport has been going one for long.
Even in the busy area near Mohammadpur bus stop, city buses including Projapoti, Shadeen buses, are halting in the middle of the road to pick up passengers. When such things occur, many other vehicles also have to halt behind that bus as it picks up passengers. Others vehicles then blast their horns loudly to overtake. What is most unfortunate is that most of the time the traffic police mysteriously remain silent.
It was also seen that a bus stops, starts again, and then after moving for a few metres, stops again to pick up passengers. What is the most shocking is that city buses are always competing with each other, racing and posing high risks of road crashes. It seems the drivers are playing with the lives of the passengers. For example, a bus does not allow another bus from same company to pass it. The driver of the bus halts the bus in such a way that another vehicle cannot overtake. But the bus behind tries to cleverly overtake and sometimes hits the front bus. Passengers shout out in anger and alarm, "Are you playing with our lives?"
In the wake of such a gloomy scenario of transport and traffic system in the capital, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) launched Dhaka Nagar Paribahan from Ghatarchar to Kanchpur with 50 buses on 26 December.
Passengers have been seen waiting with tickets at the bus stop. As this bus only stops at the designated place and operates systematically, a large number of passengers across the route avail the Nagar Paribahan trip. It seems city dwellers breathe a sigh of relief when they travel by Nagar Paribahan.
On 7 February, after a meeting, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said Dhaka Nagar Paribahan will be launched on three more routes to bring order to the capital's mass transport.
If Nagar Paribahan is a good mode of transport for city dwellers, why this is not introduced in all Dhaka routes. How many more years will the commuters wait for a hassle-free public transport?https://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/Death-in-Dhaka-road-accidents-rising