Commuters in the city's Gulshan, Banani and Niketon areas can let out a sigh of relief as the authorities yesterday launched 500 special rickshaws and 20 air-conditioned buses to operate there.
On the back of these rickshaws, painted yellow and black, a list of fares for ride to 20 destinations is attached to spare the passengers the hassle of bargaining. For example, the fare from Road No-1 to Road No-14 in Gulshan-1 is Tk 15, from Gulshan-1 intersection to Kakoli intersection Tk 40 and Gulshan-1 intersection to Banani Bazar Tk 30.
The list also contains a set of directives from the authorities.
The directives say rickshaw-pullers must not demand additional fares; they must carry passengers to wherever they want to go within the areas; must wear particular uniform and put their ID cards, provided by the authorities, around their neck; and must not carry more than two adults.
Besides, the rickshaw-pullers have been asked to call hotline number 01715882117 to inform anything they consider suspicious.
The AC buses are expected to mitigate the transport crisis that ensued as the police banned bus operations in Gulshan and Banani over security concerns following the murders of 22 people, including 17 foreigners, in the July-1 café attack.
Of the buses, some will operate from Natunbazar to Kakoli while others will ply between Police Plaza near Hatirjheel and Gulshan-2. Each passenger will have to pay Tk 15 for travelling on any of the routes, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Annisul Huq told The Daily Star.
The DNCC yesterday introduced the services with the help of community-based welfare organisations of Gulshan, Baridhara, Banani and Niketon.
Each bus has the capacity to carry 36 passengers at a time, the mayor said, adding that 20 more buses would be launched soon to run on the routes.
Talking to The Daily Star, many passengers said the bus service would make their journeys comfortable.
Some, however, said the fare is too high.
“Maybe it is around two kilometers from Police Plaza to Gulshan-2. I think Tk 15 is a bit high,” said Raihan Kabir, a private employee, who was travelling in one of the buses launched yesterday.
However, Abdul Matlub Ahmad, chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group that will operate the buses, said the fares had been fixed after discussions with all stakeholders and scrutinising related issues.
Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain inaugurated the bus service at a function in front of Police Plaza Concord in Gulshan-1.
Annisul Huq chaired the inaugural function. Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque, Awami League lawmaker AKM Rahmatullah, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia, Gulshan Society President ATM Shamsul Huda and Nitol-Niloy Group Chairman Abdul Matlub spoke at the programme.
They appreciated the service terming it a good example of public-private partnership.
Community people should be involved in the government's development activities so that people can benefit from them, the speakers said.
The new bus and rickshaw services will also ensure security in the areas, they added.
The rickshaw and bus drivers will be provided with ID cards and they will be sources of information, a police official said.