Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

End of the road for rickety buses

Transports well beyond their optimum level of service life greatly contribute to air pollution

Update : 03 Apr 2024, 09:50 AM
It is a matter of great astonishment that there are still buses, and other large public transports, currently on our roads and highways which have essentially been in commission for well over two decades.

While the government’s circular last year, where it mandated that any and all such buses and other public transports be decommissioned without delay, was met with widespread praise, the fact that the circular was rescinded a little over two months into its issuance was met with equal disappointment and concern.

Is there any surprise then that the circular was rescinded due to pressure from transport owners?

According to official data from the BRTA, at least 40% of 81,847 buses and minibuses registered with the BRTA are aged more than 20 years, while 15% of a total of 202,772 trucks, covered vans and tank-lorries, are older than 25 years. 

It has been known for a while now that transports well beyond their optimum level of service life greatly contribute to air pollution given their unchecked levels of emissions. But where the circular from last year fell flat, there is now renewed hope that the long-overdue decommissioning of these old transports can finally be carried out.

Indeed, the sitting Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has already made a series of pledges in order to tackle our pollution issues, and according to the minister the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) is already preparing a list of outdated buses operating in Dhaka city to be finalized by April 8.

This is indeed a great first step.

Dhaka consistently tops the list of cities with the worst air quality in the world, and measures towards rectifying it have always faced some form of hindrance, whether we are discussing smoke-billowing brick kilns or outdated public transports. There is absolutely no reason for the government to continue kowtowing to the whims of industrialists who value private gain over the public good.

The government needs to stand by its decision and ensure that this is the end of the line for old public transports.
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