BIP backs rickshaw until alternatives available

FE Report | Friday, 12 July 2019

Mentioning that 39 per cent of Dhaka's residents commute by rickshaw, Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) backs the plying of the vehicle in city's streets until alternative transport is ensured.
On Thursday, BIP leaders suggested phasing out non-motorised vehicles from thoroughfares alongside limiting the number of private cars to improve the overall traffic situation.
They also called for increasing public transport, introducing more circular bus routes, preventing illegal parking and evicting grabbers from roads and footpaths to ease congestion.
The suggestions came at a briefing on the plying of rickshaw and non-motorised vehicles in Dhaka from the perspective of urban planning held at BIP office in the capital.
BIP vice-president Akter Mahmud, general secretary Adil Mohammed Khan, Work for Better Bangladesh Trust programme manager Maruf Hossain and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) Prof Md Musleh Uddin Hasan spoke at the event.
BIP president AKM Abul Kalam chaired the function.
BIP secretary said 38.7 per cent people ride rickshaw, 28.5 per cent use public transport, 19 per cent walk and only 5.2 per cent use private car to reach destinations.
To facilitate the majority, he said, rickshaw should be allowed on main streets through introducing a separate lane where possible until public transportation system is upgraded.
"Private cars carry a minimal number of commuters but grab most spaces in roads."
"Then why don't the authorities limit the plying of personal vehicles but want to remove transport of the majority people?" Mr Khan questioned.
Not the rickshaw only, he said, unplanned and insufficient roads, illegal parking, grabbed sidewalk, lack of traffic law enforcement and ineffective traffic management are reasons for gridlock here.
Despite its demerits, the slow-moving vehicle is the most convenient mode of transport for women, children and the elderly against the backdrop of relatively unpleasant public transport, he argued.
Referring to some 78,000 registered out of the total 1.0 million rickshaws here, BIP suggested the government bring these vehicles under registration to get good revenue.
It also recommended a 'non-motorised vehicle circulation plan' to regulate the operation of such vehicles, introduce a separate lane, by-lane and service lane for better communications.
A community or zone-based quality circular bus system can reduce commuters' reliance on rickshaw, BIP leaders observed.
The urban planners said road pricing and congestion charge could be introduced in the proposed 'strategic transport plan' to lower the use of private cars.
Vehicle quota, licensing and restriction systems can also be replicated here like many other densely populated cities to reduce car use, they added.
Dhaka's two city corporations banned rickshaw on July 07 from Gabtoli to Azimpur via Asad Gate, Kuril to Sayedabad via Rampura and Khilgaon, and Science Lab to Shahbagh.