City public transport system in jeopardy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 27, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 27, 2011

City public transport system in jeopardy

City dwellers jostling one another in the morning to secure a bus ride at Dewanhat Mor in Chittagong. A shortage of public transport results in such sufferings for commuters everyday. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das

Conflict among the bus owners, shortage of transport and frequent clashes between the commuters and the transport staff on different issues has placed the public transport sector in the port city in jeopardy.
The people related to public transports in the port city alleged that a section of transport owners have grabbed the sector to whom local administration is helpless. The transport owners and workers said many transport organisations have mushroomed in the port city and none can say their exact number.
Most of these organisations become active when the administration takes any initiative regarding transport sector and fail to reach a unanimous decision to bring discipline in the sector, the sources further alleged.
Officials, commuters as well as some transport owners said counter ticket bus service was postponed in the port city due to their groupings. They prefer non-counter ticketing service, as it is profitable for the transport owners and staff.
Traffic department of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) could not introduce the counter ticket bus service in the city due to chaos among the organisations and their non-cooperation.
The transport owners and workers said CMP could not run the public transports which had permission to ply the city streets.
Some bus owners had been using the vehicles in Export Processing Zone (EPZ) to carry its workers violating the route permit rules.
Belayat Hossain, Secretary of Chittagong Metropolitan Transport Owners Group, said they urged the CMP to take action against the owners who are violating the route permit rules, engaging their vehicles for other purposes.
Besides, sometimes police requisitions buses, creating panic, he added.
“About 900 public transports have been plying the city streets which is inadequate compared to the city's population”, he said, adding that of the vehicles, 60 to 80 are sent to workshops daily for repair and about 100 are requisitioned.
When asked about the counter ticket bus service, he said he tried his best to run the service but could not continue due to non-cooperation of some bus owners and workers' organisations. He said he has been operating only one service in route 10(A) of the port city.
Md Shahidullah , senior assistant commissioner (AC) of CMP traffic north, said a joint survey of CMP and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) found that 30 percent of the buses remain off the street and they asked the owners of those transports to let them know the cause of absence. He said CMP would take action against them after their (owners) reply.
Referring to a High Court order, he said the police do not give requisitions like in the past without some important programme.
He said CMP could not continue the counter ticket bus service due to conflicts among the transport owners and workers organisations as they were against the service. Some transport owners, who were also against the service, provoked the staff to create chaos against the service, AC added.

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