THE city's public transport, comprising mainly buses and the 'leguna,' is in dire condition. The buses are unsafe, shabby, over-crowded and difficult if not impossible to access by women, elderly people and people with special needs. Rickshaws are more in supply than autorickshaws but they cannot enter many roads. Taxi is another transport that is available but finding a vacant one is almost impossible, not to mention the sky-rocketing fare.
Hence, despite the struggle that people have to go through to get an autorickshaw, and despite being at the mercy of the drivers in terms of the fare, they have no other option but to depend on them for their daily commuting purposes in the capital.
By law, the CNG autorickshaws are supposed to charge passengers according to the meter and are not allowed to refuse any passengers because of the destination or for any other reason. However, the mismatch in the demand and supply of autorickshaws gives an upper hand to the operators and encourages them to violate the mentioned two laws.
Once in a while, the law enforcement agency conducts a drive against autorickshaws that do not use a meter or refuse to take passengers. During that period passengers get a temporary relief but as soon as the drive ends the nightmares of the passengers return.
Transportation is an important aspect that determines the quality of life in a city and certainly the poor transportation system in Dhaka is one main reason why it is rated as the most unlivable city on the planet. Therefore, the authority needs to consider improving the livability of the city by implementing transportation projects that will serve the demands of majority people in the city, such as the projects outlined in 'The Strategic Transport Plan for Dhaka' rather than the elevated expressway project that has the capability to serve the transport needs of only a few percent of the people.
The writer is a transportation engineer working in Thailand.