Bus route franchise kicks off today
All is set to launch the bus route franchise (BRF) service on a pilot basis from Ghatarchar to Katchpur in Dhaka today.
On the opening day, a total of 50 buses will provide the service.
Of them, 20 buses from a private company, named TransSilva, will initially operate under an agreement with the government authorities concerned.
In the absence of the required number of buses, 30 buses of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) will be temporarily plying the road under the service named 'Dhaka Nagar Paribahan'.
The number of buses on the route will later be increased, totalling 100 altogether.
An inaugural ceremony will take place at a bus stop close to BRTC bus depot at Mohammadpur at 10:00am, in presence of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Fazle Noor Taposh and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader will join the ceremony virtually.
The bus terminal, bus stops and bus bays on the 21 kilometre corridor are ready to start the first ever BRF service which means one-route-one-bus company, said official sources.
Though the new bus service will not have all its features as per the BRF theme initially, passengers will get a new experience, they added.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), which works as the secretariat of a special committee formed to work on BRF through bus route rationalisation, has prepared a policy and guideline for the pilot route operators.
Earlier, on December 19, DSCC Mayor Fazle Noor Taposh during the 20th meeting of the special committee announced the launch of the pilot route on December 26.
Prior to the latest announcement, the committee earlier announced the launch of the BRF service several times but could not make it due to non-cooperation from the private city bus operators as they felt threatened.
The DTCA finally floated an open tender and selected three companies to run the pilot project.
Since all the buses under the three companies are not ready before the inaugural day, BRTC bus support will be taken initially, said DSCC mayor.
Other operators to launch buses on the route are Jahan Enterprise with 60 buses and HR Transport with five buses.
Neelima Akhter, executive director (in-charge) of the DTCA, said 20 buses of TransSilva company had been initially coloured with the route's original colour 'green', but the BRTC's bus would be running on the corridor in its original colour.
Neelima, also an additional secretary of the Road Transport and Highways Division, said the BRF service would be improved by evaluating day to day performance.
Meanwhile, the DSCC and DNCC mayors declared that an electronic ticketing system would be introduced in the pilot project.
A private firm named 'Jatri' has been given the responsibility to operate e-tickets, and maintain daily data of passengers - to be shared with DTCA, said sources in the DTCA.
According to the DTCA guidelines, the buses will pick up or drop passengers from specific bus stops and will be operated within specific time.
All the bus stops will have ticket counters and passengers will not be allowed to board buses without tickets.
Fare for the BRF bus service is fixed at Tk 2.20 per km.
The drivers must have valid licenses and will be hired on an appointment letter for a year. Both drivers and helpers are to be provided specific dresses.
Bus drivers will run buses keeping doors closed.
The buses will be running with an interval of 10 minutes during peak hours and 15-20 minutes during off-peak hours. Bus waiting time at the stop has been fixed at two minutes.
A hotline number will be displayed inside the bus just in case people need to file complaints.