“Green Dhaka,” a new air-conditioned (AC) bus service, will start operations on the Abdullahpur-Motijheel route on Tuesday.
The bus will run from Uttara’s Abdullahpur to Motijheel via Kuril, Bashundhara gate, Notun Bazar, Badda, Rampura, Kakrail, Paltan and Gulistan.
Tofazzal Hossain (Montu Mia), chairman of the company, said there has been huge demand for AC buses but operators are hesitant because of the high cost of maintenance.
Previously, several private operators including Premium, Nirapad and Roadstar launched AC bus services in the city, but none of them was able to sustain operations.
The operator has fixed the fare at Tk100 for the whole ride while the lowest fare is fixed at Tk60.
On higher fares, Tofazzal said that private AC bus operators have to pay 15% VAT but state-owned AC bus services do not have to pay any VAT.
“We are not seeking profit at the moment. I hope we can sustain in the business because people now want quality service even if they have to pay extra,” he said.
The targeted commuters of this service are private car and CNG passengers.
Comparing the bus fare of Bangladesh to foreign countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai, Tofazzal said: “When Bangladeshis visit these countries they pay a lot for a short journey. If they get a similar service here they will also pay for that.
“The fare of BRTA AC service is Tk65, and if we add 15% VAT to it, then it is about Tk100. You have to pay a little additional fare if you want a more comfortable and better service,” he added.
“We have free WiFi service and 32 inch TV for the entertainment of the commuters and the bus will be monitored by CCTV cameras to ensure safety of the commuters,” Tofazzal said.
He said the bus will not take any passengers from midpoints; it will take riders from the counters only, even if it means only two passengers for the entire journey. If the city corporation permits then the counters will also be provided with AC.
The quality of the buses will be much better than those of the state-owned AC bus service of BRTC, he claimed.
He also said that BRTC is a loss project of the government, but the government should protect this sector because good transportation is vital to the development of a country.
Tofazzal hoped this service will reduce the number of private cars the road, which usually carry two or three people, but take up space that then causes congestions.
"Green Dhaka" will have a total of 30 buses—20 of them will start operating from the first day and the remaining will be added to the fleet from the next month.
The service will later be expanded to Postagola.