Encourage motorised rickshawMd Ashraf Hossain, Dhaka
BANGLADESH is still a least developed country. About 1.5 million people in the capital Dhaka belong to the middle class and provide the most significant driving force for development. However, the decision-makers in the government appear least bothered to solve transport problems. Most of these people do not have their own vehicle nor do they get vehicle from their employers. The public transport system is inadequate. Whatever bus service is available does not cover all desired destinations. Taxicabs and auto-rickshaws charge exorbitant fares.
Two decades back, rickshaws plied most roads in the capital and ordinary people could travel to their desired destinations at affordable cost. The government has since made one road after another off-limits to rickshaw, supposedly to ease traffic congestion, without arranging for any suitable alternatives for the people at large.
For the past couple of years, ‘easy bike’ has been seen in roads. Easy bike is a three-wheeler run by motor energized with DC battery. It occupies a little bit more space on the street than the CNG-run auto-rickshaws but can carry six passengers at a time. It originated from China and spread in all most every upazila, district towns and even divisional cities. As its investment cost is affordable, thousands of poor people have got a chance to earn by driving ‘easy bikes’. Poor people are also happy getting affordable means of movement.
Recently another innovation is being observed in the streets of the capital Dhaka. In traditional rickshaws DC motors and gears have been fixed, which are energised by chargeable batteries to operate like easy bike. The motor rickshaw has increased the speed of the rickshaw. It relieved the rickshaw puller from exerting physical labour. Meanwhile, the fare has remained more or less the same. The battery is charged from night to dawn. The rickshaw pullers say it costs Tk 20 to get a battery charged. A charged battery can run a rickshaw for about 10 to 12 hours. We know that from midnight to dawn the demand for electricity come down to 60 per cent in relations to peak hours.
In this situation, the government should encourage such motorised chargeable battery operated rickshaws and allow those to ply on all the streets of the capital and other municipality streets. It would help the lower middle class and poor people to have affordable means of transport.
comments powered by Disqus