Government Policy

Despite good services Dhaka Nagar Paribahan fails to lure enough passengers

Commuters travelling by the red-and-green buses of Dhaka Nagar Paribahan (DNP) since the pilot launching of the public transport company late last year has so far been happy with its disciplined services and reasonable fare.

For the passengers there is neither any hassle in buying the tickets nor any arguments about fare. Passengers get on and off at designated stations. Inside, there are enough seats to sit and they are comparatively clean. Drivers are civil and helpers are helpful.

In spite of the delivery of the services it has promised the pilot service is being shunned by many regular commuters. The common complaint is that the buses are too slow to reach the stops resulting in long frustrating wait for the passengers.

This drives many passengers to take the otherwise rough-driving higher fare-charging buses simply because they can reach them to their destination faster.

This has been the experience gathered by a UNB correspondent who travelled several times by DNP buses and talked to a good number of other commuters this week.

Consider Jafar Alam who works at a private company and commutes on this route from Matijeel to Mohammadpur said that many are still using other buses as this new company has fewer vehicles than the demand.

He said “It takes too much time to get the service for insufficient buses. The wait becomes unbearable during the office time. But I still like it due to nice service.”

He said he is regularly paying TK 21 for his trip while other private buses charge almost TK 40 for this same distance and route.

“If authority focus on the increasing the buses, it can attract more passengers,” he added.

Another regular passenger Rafsan Khan,an owner of retail shop in Gulistan, said that he has no complaint about the service, but for its slowness.

“But it will get more passengers if it uses Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover to pass from Kajla to Gulistan.

Many passengers avoid using these buses as they don’t take the flyover and thus take more time, he said.

The route plan should be re-rationalised if its authority wants to attract passengers, according to him.

Dhaka Nagar Paribahan buses have already set a good example of charging government-fixed fares from the passengers unlike many privately-run buses. The company’s buses also have fare chart placed inside the vehicles.

Yet travelling by the buses, it was found that they were not running full capacity. People preferred the other buses to this service though they are charging high.

The drivers, conductors and helpers said that they are trying their best to provide the services. But people are not interested to get on these buses much.

“It is disappointing for us as people crowd the other services though we are proving the promised better services,” said Karim, a conductor.

UNB correspondent found that people are from Ghatarchar to Kanchpur via Motijheel and Signboard at officially-set fare at Tk 2.15 per kilometre while e-ticketing system is facilitating the service.

Alongside, students are getting half discount upon showing their identify cards.

No bus was found to pick up or drop off passengers anywhere aside from designated places.

Regarding the service, another passenger named Shamnuuddin Bhuiyan said, “I travel to Shahbag from Matuail counter using the service. Other buses from Matuail to Shahbag cost TK30 to 35. But on this service it is Tk25.”

Most of the buses are carrying less than half of the passengers. In addition, private buses are parked at the corners of the road to pick up passengers, so the number of passengers is decreasing due to not placing counters in the right place in the city transport, said Mohammad Ali, in-charge of Kanchpur counters.

The manager of Shahbagh counter said that their buses do not carry passengers without the designated place while other transports are picking up and dropping off passengers everywhere. Due to this they are getting more passengers.

“Our transport will be in crisis if other modes are not stopped on this route,” he said.

When asked, Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) Executive Director Neelima Akhter said, “We are aware of the low number of passengers. This is a new system and so people still don’t know well.”

“If the campaign increases, the number of passengers will also increase. There are some challenges. We will review the issues at the next meeting,” she said.

The government launched the ‘Dhaka Nagar Paribahan’ on December 26 under bus route rationalisation programme of the two Dhaka city corporations on trial basis, aiming to streamline the public transport sector and reduce traffic jams in the capital city.

At the initial stage, 50 buses are being operated on the route which will be increased to 100 in phases while the entire city will get the service by 2023.

If the two city corporations’ bus route rationalisation programme under the name of “Dhaka Nagar Paribahan” gets a success in the trial run on the 21 kilometre route from Ghatarchar in Keraniganj to Kanchpur, much is expected to be changed eventually, authorities earlier said.

There’ll be more than 40 stops and 16 bus bays on this route while the drivers and helpers of these buses will have separate uniforms, they said.

While inaugurating the route Obaidul Quader, roads transport and bridges minister, depending on its success the government will consider bringing 42 more routes under this system.

These planned routes, he said, will be under Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) covering Narsingdi, Manikganj, Narayanganj and Gazipur.

Source: United News of Bangladesh