With a special committee to rationalise bus routes in Dhaka city already starting it works, the authorities will not give permission for any new bus route in the capital from now onward.
The decision was taken at the second meeting of the 10-member coordination committee for bus route rationalisation, formed in September last year.
Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon, its convener, told reporters about the decision after the meeting at Nagar Bhaban yesterday.
If there is a special need, Regional Transport Committee (RTC) for Dhaka metro, the authority to issue route permits, can inform the special committee, he said, adding that it will then take a decision over the issue.
“You will see discipline on some routes in between April and June. New buses including AC buses will ply the routes,” he said. It would take around two years to change the entire situation, the mayor added.
On September 9 last year, the government formed the committee for rationalising bus routes, bringing all public buses under a fixed number of companies and bringing public transports under discipline.
The committee -- comprising representatives of government bodies, police, transport owners, workers and an expert -- was asked to work on the issue and coordinate it considering the steps of late mayor Annisul Huq, who envisioned the initiative.
Annisul had taken the initiative to bring all buses in the capital under a few companies, each to be provided with permits for respective routes and made responsible for proper public transport management and minimising congestion.
It lost momentum after his death in late 2017. The issue came to the fore again after the student agitation for safe road, following death of two college students in road accident in Dhaka on July 29 last year.
In the last six months, the committee has held only two meetings. Khokon blamed the December 30 national election for the delay in holding the second meeting.
Apart from committee members, yesterday's meeting was attended by two officials of the Prime Minister's Office.
BUS ROUTE PERMISSION
Issuing permission for new routes by RTC without any survey is often considered the major reason for traffic jam in Dhaka.
Currently, there are some 366 routes in Dhaka and adjacent areas while numbers of approved buses and minibuses are 6,167 and 2,805 respectively, said an RTC official.
About the decision to stop issuing new bus routes, a member of the committee told The Daily Star yesterday, “We have to set a standpoint. It's not possible to start working if the authority continues to give permission for new routes.”
AUTO TRAFFIC SIGNALLING
Khokon said they have taken a long time to introduce automatic traffic signalling system. Earlier, they had faced some challenges and technical problems after its introduction.
It is now in operation at 10 points on pilot basis and they will hand over those to the traffic division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police within a few days, the mayor said.
“With the handover, the automatic traffic signalling system will start formally in Dhaka South City Corporation areas,” he added.