Passengers travelling on Dhaka Nagar Paribahan buses have expressed their satisfaction over its service but the number of passengers was not as expected as many commuters are yet to know about the service.
Passengers, bus drivers and bus assistants said the service is still unfamiliar to many due to lack of publicity and operating other company's buses on the same route.
Abu Taher, a Nagar Paribahan passenger who made a ticket at Tk12 for Shahbagh to Mohammadpur, said the fare is less than that in regular buses and the service is better.
Another passenger from Ghatarchar, Julhas Mia told TBS he is satisfied with the service too as no extra passenger was taken. He suggested that authorities should publicise Nagar Paribahan.
Shila Akhter was travelling with her family on a Nagar Paribahan bus. She said you cannot swing a cat in other buses whereas every passenger gets a seat here.
Drivers are also happy with the new bus service in the capital. Nagar Paribahan (BRTC) driver Hasan Hawladar told TBS, "Now we do not have to rush to the destination through unhealthy competition.
Ismail Hossain, a counterman of Shahbagh Ticket Counter, told TBS that the number of passengers in their bus is slowly increasing. Those who have travelled on their buses only once are travelling on it regularly.
Eight buses under Nagar Paribahan were launched on Sunday.
In the Ghatarchar-Kanchpur route, no Nagar Paribahan bus counter was noticed even though there were many counters of other bus services. Besides, other bus services take and drop passengers on roads. As a result, many commuters prefer not to go to Nagar Paribahan counters.
However, those who know about Nagar Paribahan are using it regularly. Passengers demanded that the service be introduced on other routes too. Authorities should recruit helpers, set up permanent ticket counters and passengers' shade in bus stops.
Mentioning some mismanagement faced frequently, Nagar Paribahan counter masters and drivers complained that other buses frequently occupy the spaces designated for their buses at bus stops. Moreover, they insist passengers get on their buses, which is also a reason for the lack of passengers.
Regarding income, people working in Nagar Paribahan counters said they do not get the amount as assured before joining, which demotivates them. They said people will not be interested to work here in the future if wages are not increased.
BRTC buses running without helpers
BRTC double-decker buses of Dhaka Nagar Paribahan are running without any helper. The drivers and passengers fear of various problems including accidents.
Jasim Uddin, a passenger of Nagar Paribahan (BRTC), told TBS that the quality of the service is good but there are problems in management as there is no helper. As a result, the driver alone has to manage everything, which is quite inconvenient for him. The driver might lose his concentration and accidents can occur.
There is a shortage of ticket checkers and manpower in counters too. Mohammadpur counterman Hanif said he cannot handle everything there alone. There is no scope to eat or use the washroom. Each counter should have at least two people.
There are only five ticket checkers on this route.
Regarding the problems, Dhaka Transport Coordinating Authority (DTCA) Executive Director and Committee Member Secretary Nilima Akhtar told TBS, "Our monitoring team is inspecting buses and counters every day. We have just started and there will be some problems [initially]. And we are taking steps to solve them."
She also said authorities would fix the salary issue and take action in recruiting helpers very soon.
Earlier, as part of bus route rationalisation to restore order in public transport, Nagar Paribahan service was launched with 50 buses on the 27.5-km route from Ghatarchar in the capital's Keraniganj to Kanchpur.