The Nagar Paribahan bus service, which was introduced in the capital on 26 December 2021, will continue to run on a pilot basis until the new law comes into effect.
A draft law on the Bus Route Franchise has already been prepared and waiting to go through several procedures till it is passed in the parliament.
"The pilot project will come to an end as soon as the law regarding the Bus Route Franchise is in place," said Bus Route Franchising Project Director Dhrubo Alam.
"A meeting regarding the draft law has been held at the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges. It has been sent to all the stakeholders for their opinion and recommendations," he said.
More discussions, workshops and seminars will be held in the coming days before forwarding it to parliament which might take some 6 months to a year, Dhrubo said.
"We are facing various problems while operating the Nagar Paribahan service, and a fresh system will emerge by solving those problems," the project director added.
In the bus route franchise system, a cluster of routes will be formed and a uniform company will operate all buses in the cluster. The company will have a bank account in which all the income will be credited and profit will be shared equally from there.
Meanwhile, the drafted law on Bus Route Franchise provisioned that no bus, except ones providing service for approved organisations, can be run in Dhaka without being franchised.
The tenure of the franchise agreement will be 10 years. Registration and route permits for the buses will be issued in the name of the company.
However, the bus or company or the authority can put an end to the agreement anytime by meeting the conditions of the agreement.
The economic life of the buses will be 10 years. After expiring the period, no route permit will be given to these buses.
The drafted law also has a provision of punishment for violating any condition of the agreement or for running illegal buses. Authorities will be able to fine a violator with a minimum of Tk5 crore.
However, there is a provision to appeal if one faces punishment without committing a crime.
Dr SM Saleh Uddin, public transport expert and also the committee member for bus route rationalization, told The Business Standard that the law is to regulate only the companies, not drivers or others.
"The law is now at a primary level and only a hearing has been held on the draft. There is still time to make it better," he said.
Three more routes are to be included under Nagar Paribahan
As the law is being formulated, three more routes are going to be included under the Nagar Paribahan service.
The routes are - 22 (Ghatarchar to Demra Staff Quarter), 23 (Ghatarchar to Kanchpur), and 26 (Ghatarchar to Kadamtali Thana).