The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has already built passenger jetties and terminals at Sadarghat and Patenga for the waterbus service
The much awaited waterbus service finally went into operation on the Karnaphuli River in Chittagong on Monday.
Waterbuses will operate on the Sadarghat-Patenga river route and commuters will be able to get on and off at different points.
For now, two waterbuses will operate until January, when two more vessels will be added to the fleet.
For each one way trip, the fare has been fixed at Tk350 per person.
Initially, the waterbuses will make 10 trips a day leaving Sadarghat terminal at 7am, 8am, 12:15pm, 3pm, and 7pm.
Likewise, they will leave Patenga terminal at 8:30am, 11:30am, 2:25 pm, 4:30pm, and 9:15pm.
The Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) has already built passenger jetties and terminals at Sadarghat and Patenga for the waterbus service.
The CPA in February undertook the initiative to ease pressure on the port city's roads and reduce the hassle for passengers going to Shah Amanat International Airport.
According to waterbus service operator SS Trading, airport bound passengers will be able to reach the airport in half an hour.
Urban planners and traffic specialists hailed the initiative but also warned that it may fizzle out if not managed properly.
According to civil aviation authorities, around 4,500 passengers of 28 flights, international and domestic, commute on the airport road daily.
The distance from the GEC intersection to Shah Amanat International Airport is 18km and it takes one to two hours to reach the airport due to traffic jams.
CPA Secretary Md Omar Faruk told Dhaka Tribune that they may develop the service more if they see a positive response.
“With the introduction of the waterbus service, airport passengers will be able to catch their flights on time. It will also ease the city's nagging gridlock situation. Water transport is a cost effective and hassle free mode of transportation and has a lot of potential in our country,” he said.
In any planned city, waterways are a vital component of the transportation system. The initiative to introduce the waterbus service on Karnaphuli River was long overdue. If properly managed, the service will give relief to commuters from the gridlock on the roads, said experts.
Engineer Subhas Barua, traffic specialist and vice-president of Forum for Planned Chittagong, said: “This service will also save people time and increase productivity.”
Architect Ashiq Imran said: "The initiative is timely and commendable. It will lessen pressure on road traffic. The ervice operators should ensure a safe and comfortable trip for commuters, otherwise the service may fail to attract commuters.”