Following repeated failures since 2004, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation will resume its waterbus service on the capital’s circular river route from Thursday.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan will inaugurate the resumption of bus services at the Gabtali Waterbus Landing Station Thursday, said BIWTC officials.
The concerned authorities said to ensure that the service worked well this time around, they were more prepared than in previous launching attempts.
The BIWTC now owns six waterbuses, four of which have been recently added to the fleet. The authorities believe this would be enough to generate enthusiasm among commuters on the river route.
Authorities at the corporation said they had recently completed the building of four new waterbuses and four more were underway. Each of the new commuter boats has 85 seats instead of 35 seats as introduced previously. The dredging of the river route has also been completed.
Mujibur Rahman, chairman of the BIWTC, said the waterbus service is set to resume tomorrow. It will also be inaugurated on the same day.
“We hope that the new initiative will become a success and that it will continue. It will also fulfill the commuters’ demand,” he said.
The planned 29-kilometre circular river route for the waterbus service is Sadarghat-Gabtoli-Aminbazar-Ashulia-Tongi-Purbachal-Demra-Kanchpur-Mir-Kadeem-Fatulla to the embankment area of the Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakshya rivers.
The BIWTC had planned to restart the service in May and already cancelled three launches between May and June this year. At last, the state-owned agency on Monday confirmed that the waterbus service would come into effect from Thursday.
The corporation launched the service experimentally on June 12 on the Sadarghat-Sinnirtek route.
The waterbus service was first introduced in 2004 under the BNP-Jamaat-led four-party alliance government with one water taxi on the Sadarghat-Aminbazar route.
Under the ruling Awami League-led grand alliance government, it was re-launched in August 2010 with two waterbuses on the Sadarghat-Swarighat-Kholamura-Gabtoli route.
The government hoped that the alternative means of transport would give city dwellers relief from the traffic congestion on the streets.
However, 11 months after its re-launch, the BIWTC stopped the service once again for lack water depth on the river route and after its failure to keep to schedules with only two waterbuses on the waterway.
This time, the buses will have lavatories, lounges and baggage- handling services.
Constructed by Dhaka Dockyard Limited, the vessels will travel at 12 nautical miles per hour, carrying passengers from 7am to 10pm between Sadarghat and Gabtoli (Aminbazar) with two stops on the way at Swarighat and Kholamura.
BIWTC adds two ferry units
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) will launch two new “K Type Vehicular Ferries” today.
Khan Brothers Shipbuilding Ltd, the construction company, will hand over the towboats to the BIWTC at the shipyard in Gazaria on the day of the launch and Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan will inaugurate their service.
Khan Brothers Shipbuilding Ltd. built the ferries – ah “Kanakchapa” and “Kalmilata” – at the cost of Tk70m.
Each ferry will have the capacity to carry up to 12 vehicles at a time, 110 passengers and 10 VIPs. The speed of each ferry will be 10 nautical miles per hour.