Nagar Paribahan Bus: Mixed reactions mark first day of service
The first day of the much-awaited Nagar Paribahan bus service-from Ghatarchar to Kanchpur under one authority was greeted with mixed reactions yesterday.
On one hand, passengers were satisfied with how the buses didn't waste time boarding passengers, but on the other, some of them expressed frustration with how they weren't allowed to get off the vehicles at their preferred spots.
With a fleet of 50 buses -- including 30 Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) double-deckers -- the new Nagar Paribahan Bus service started plying the capital's streets yesterday, with hopes of bringing discipline to the city's transport system.
The inauguration programme was attended by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader virtually, while Dhaka South City Corporation mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh chaired the session, with Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Md Atiqul Islam in attendance.
After the inauguration, the mayors bought tickets and boarded a bus, along with other guests, from Mohammadpur and got down at Shankar bus stoppage.
This correspondent also boarded one of the buses on a journey from Mohammadpur to Motijheel to experience the service and gauge passenger reaction.
One of the first things he noticed is that none of the staffers wore the green uniforms mandated for the service. The promise of providing the driver's personal details at the back of the driving seat was also missing.
"We will get our dress within a few days," said bus conductor Md Swapan.
Speaking of his own experience, Swapan said the first day's troubles included the passengers' demand to get down on the spot of their choosing, rather than only at stoppages, as per instructions.
Meanwhile, passengers spoke of their mostly favourable experience. "It's good that the buses don't stay at one spot for long to board passengers and don't compete with other buses," said college student Tanbin Ahmed Anik. "I hope the authorities put in the effort to maintain the service quality."
But another passenger, Azizur Rahman, expressed his anger as he was not allowed to get down at his preferred spot, saying the authorities should allow room for this, otherwise people might have to walk a long way after getting down at the stoppages.
He also suggested the authorities re-paint the buses as they are running old buses now.
Md Ali, an enlisted driver of the service, said passengers will be able to file complaints using the service's hotline numbers, which will be available at the buses in a couple of days.
QUADER, MAYORS PROMISE QUALITY SERVICE
Addressing the programme, DSCC mayor Taposh said though the first couple of days of the service may see some issues, they will be eked out eventually.
He also said they have started with 50 buses on a pilot basis and will double the number within two months.
The service will be run by dividing the capital in to nine clusters and operating all buses under six separate companies within 2023.
DNCC mayor Atiqul said over 9,000 buses currently run in 291 routes of the city, which creates unhealthy competition for passengers, chaos on the streets, and raises risks of accidents. He said they hope to
resolve all these issues with the new system.
Speaking as chief guest, Quader said bringing the capital's transport system under discipline is in line with the government's visions.
The "Bus Route Rationalisation and Operation of Bus Services on Company Basis in Dhaka" initiative was first taken up by late mayor Annisul Huq. However, the project lost steam following his death in late 2017.
After many delays, owing to the pandemic, among other issues, the service finally started yesterday.