Volvos to go off before expiry dateBdnews24.com . Dhaka
The Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation is replacing the 45 Volvo double-deckers in its fleet for the capital Dhaka five years before their date of expiry.
These buses have gone out of order for lack of maintenance and repairs have not been done because of high price of spares, officials claimed.
Instead, the operator is adding 290 Indian Askok Leyland double-deckers to its fleet.
‘The Volvo double-deckers went out of order for lack of maintenance even before this government took office. Only five out of fifty buses are now in service having been repaired in local technology,’ BRTC general manager (Technical) Maj Mohammad Firoz Khannum Farazi told the news agency.
He said the ‘excessively high costs’ of spare parts make running those Volvo double-deckers on the streets again not feasible. Repairing them again would cost Tk 3-4 million for every bus which will not be ‘cost-effective’, he reasoned.
‘The service these buses will give after spending so much on repairs will be too inadequate for the cost,’ Farazi pointed out.
He added that the BRTC was bringing in 290 Ashok Leyland buses from India as an alternative, 26 of which were already here. The rest should be in by September.
It was advised at a 1999 meeting of Dhaka City Transport Development Project to deploy a large number of double-decker buses in the capital to minimise traffic congestion and provide better transport services. It was argued that each Volvo double-decker could accommodate 120 seating and 40 standing passengers, five times a normal minibus could carry.
In line with the advice, 50 Volvo double-deckers were imported between 2002 and 2004 funded by loans from Swedish International Development Agency. Each bus cost Tk 10.3 million and a total of Tk 650 million was spent.
Farazi continued that the minimum operational age of the buses was set at 15 years at that time and the buses were supposed to operate until 2017. But, 45 of these buses went out of order much before that time due to lack of maintenance.
A BRTC official, on condition of anonymity, said, ‘In the beginning, the spares for the Volvo buses were supplied by the distributors, Swedish Motors. However, during the previous coalition government’s tenure, spare parts worth total Tk 7 million were bought on credit. Swedish Motors stopped supplying spares during the caretaker government’s tenure as the dues were not paid.’
In 2008, 17 of these buses went out of order and seven others in 2009. The rest followed suit in the next two years.
Even though, there is scope for BRTC to sell off their old and out-of-order buses through auctions, the authorities are yet to decide.
‘The buses have been kept at BRTC’s Mirpur depot and Gazipur’s workshop. No decision has been taken about what will be done with them,’ Farazi said.
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