The much anticipated launching of Rapid Pass – a smart solution to the commuters' woes in Dhaka city and its adjoining areas – still limps along as the authorities concerned are failing to conduct survey of city bus services and put up necessary device even after an extension deadline.
Rapid Pass has been planned to enable commuters to pay fares and other charges while travelling by bus, train or ferry though a smart card.
The government undertook a Tk39cr-project, titled “Establishment of Clearing House for Integrating Transport Ticketing System in Dhaka City Area,” in 2014 with the aim to provide commuters with the smart card for all modes of transports by 2016.
With a very stagnate progress in the project works, the deadline has now been re-fixed to June 2018.
Even after the extension, the authorities concerned are yet to conduct the survey on city bus services and put up the clearing house as well as the device to swipe smart cards.
Project officials said a clearing house bank would work as the authority to deal the transactions among different service provider agencies and the passengers. The clearing house would be committed to provide smart card to passengers and recharge those as per the holder's expectation.
Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary MAN Siddique told the Dhaka Tribune: “We are trying to launch the e-ticketing system by the schedule time. We have recently signed a deal with Dutch-Bangla Bank to establish a clearing house bank to operate the financial transactions and coordinate the process.”
The project will be implemented with a cost of Tk39 crore, with Tk28.5 crore of the amount along with some technical support shared by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has successfully finished their pilot project in this connection at Daulatdia, Paturia and Kazirhat ferry ports in 2016. They concluded that the Rapid Pass will be beneficial for the commuters.
Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) and Bangladeh Railway (BR) have concurred with the analysis.
The smart card would be allowed in all public buses including those of the state-owned BRTC as well as in trains and ferries. The service would also be incorporated into the upcoming Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) projects.