What makes the situation especially egregious is that these deaths could have been prevented
The recent protests all over the city make two things clear: One, that the public has had enough. And two, our bus system needs widespread reform.
The deaths of two students at the hands of wayward bus drivers was the last among a long list of men, women, and children who have lost their lives to the chaotic and uncivilized nature of public transport in Dhaka city -- and it is well past time that this changed.
What makes the situation especially egregious is that these deaths could have been prevented. And it is unacceptable for the government to continue to neglect these problems as the bodies pile up on our streets.
The government has had plans to improve the public transport system for some time, such as the Revised Strategic Transport Plan, which will incorporate metro rails, bus rapid transits, and circular roads, but progress has been slow.
More importantly, since our local buses continue to be the primary source of woe for the people of Dhaka, Late Mayor Annisul Huq’s plans to revamp our public transport system in this regard is one the government should get behind.
With more than 150 bus routes being operated by almost 200 companies, Mayor Annisul Huq’s plan to have only six routes run by six separate companies with strict government regulation would have brought about some much-needed discipline to the streets of Dhaka.
Furthermore, he wanted to scrap old and non-functional buses, and bring safer modes of transport for the use of the public.
However, sadly, and with so many of our best plans, these blueprints have languished on the backburner, with little to no implementation.
Unless and until pro-active steps are taken to bring public transport services under control, and laws which ensure safety are implemented -- minimum age for driver’s licenses, buses are in good working conditions, etc -- people will continue to die by the numbers on our roads.