It is not every day that we see this sort of effort on our lawless roads. A group of bus owners and transport workers took it upon themselves to check the papers of buses in the capital. The Dhaka Road Transport Owners' Association (DRTOA) has informed us that one bus company has been barred from operating on Gulistan-Meghna route until it sorts out its documents. We welcome this voluntary initiative by bus owners because they, being one of the major stakeholders in the transport business, can make a difference should they wish to. This sort of spot vigilance has brought to light that there are transport companies that have operated without valid documents for years on end. It also highlights the sorry state of law enforcement by the police whose job it is to make sure that drivers and vehicles possess valid documents to be on the road.
We have been stressing on the need for all stakeholders to take responsibility for safer roads. It was hoped that in the aftermath of student protests, these issues would be addressed in the upcoming Road Transport Act. So far we have seen that most of the responsibility for road safety has been offloaded on to drivers. However, if DRTOA's voluntary drive is anything to go by, we should think about replicating the initiative nationwide. Only when bus owners start taking part of the responsibility of making sure that only those bus companies that have up-to-date paperwork are allowed to operate will we see a significant change on our roads.