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A tale of rickshaw-city ! PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 23 May 2008

A wonderful weather, gentle breeze- no doubt you will feel to roam around the city by rickshaw with no time limit and no specific destination. Two persons seating closer on a seat- sometimes rickshaw gives a nice scope to bring closer the two different soul. This is one reason of how rickshaw takes  place in our emotions. 

Now, can someone tell what would be the feasible rickshaw fare from Mirpur-10 to Pallabi Bus Stand ? Is it Tk. 10 or Tk. 15 ? If it is Tk. 15, I do not mind at all to pay that but if the actual fare is Tk.10 then why should I spend extra Tk.5 everyday !

Above is actually  everyday’s chaos with rickshaw-puller at the starting to end of the day for short to medium distance traveling. Road surveys telling that Rickshaws are an important cause of heavy traffic. Rickshaws are having limited routes than before but traffic jam is still painful.

The fact is rickshaw’s are not obsolete and we are dependable on it very much. So, rickshaws are moving around the city, becoming  a part of our daily life without having any visible control – specially on rickshaw fare, rickshaw stands. This is of course not very much appreciated.

When gas/oil price hike occurs and that causes a increase in bus, taxi fare, we place our verse on it.  These can even become a political issues also, whereas everyday the middle class people- office workers, students are facing such problems. Govt. never bother even for a mini control board for rickshaws.

I also personally agree to limited rickshaw routes more and gradually. If there are rules for bus/taxi fare then it also required for rickshaws- this is viable for both rickshaw-pullers and passengers. No wonder, where we do not have a specific bus stoppage how can we expect a rickshaw stoppage! If our footpaths are spacious enough, clean and well constructed, we would prefer to walk for short distances rather taking rickshaws.  We could have make us already a occasional rickshaw traveler if Govt took some wise steps meanwhile.

Ireen Sultana


Comments Add New
syed saiful Alam Shovan  - Fuel Consumption and Environmental Impact of Ricks |2008-08-13 08:42:49
Fuel Consumption and Environmental Impact of Rickshaw Bans in Dhaka

Most trips in Dhaka are short in distance, usually one to five kilometers. These trips are perfect of Rickshaws. Rickshaws are cheap and popular mode of transport over short distances. Rickshaws are safe, environmentally friendly and do not rely on fossil fuels. Rickshaws support a significant portion of the population, not only the pullers, but also their families in the villages, the mechanics who fix the rickshaws, as well as street hawkers who sell them food. From the raw materials to the finished product the Rickshaw employs some 38 different professions. Action needs to be taken to support the Rickshaw instead of further banning it in Dhaka. The combined profits of all Rickshaws out earn all other passenger transport modes (bus, rail, boats and airlines) combined. In Dhaka alone, Rickshaw pullers combine to earn 20 million taka a month.

We think that over the coming holiday of Eid du Ajah, new Rickshaw bans will be put into action on roads in Dhaka. Eid was used in the past to place new bans on roads in Dhaka. Last Eid many roads were declared Rickshaw free without public support or approval. By banning Rickshaws roads are clogged with increased private car use as well as increased parking by cars. Banning of Rickshaws on major roads increases the transportation costs for commuters. Not only due to longer trips to avoid roads with bans in effect, but also due to actually having to take more expensive forms of transport such as CNG or Taxi, where in the past a Rickshaw would suffice. The environmental impact of banning Rickshaws is obvious because it exchanges a non-motorized form of transport for a motorized form of transport, thus increasing the pollution and harming the environment. Rickshaw bans harm the most vulnerable in society, mainly the sick, poor, women, children and the elderly; generally those who can not afford or do not feel comfortable on other forms of public transport. To ban Rickshaws also hurts small businesses that rely on them as a cheap and reliable form of transporting their goods. Rickshaws are ideal for urban settings because they can transport a relatively large number of passengers while taking up a small portion of the road. In 1998 the data showed that Rickshaws took up 38% of road space while transporting 54% of passengers in Dhaka . The private cars on the other hand, took up 34% of road space while only transporting 9% of the population (1998 DUTP). This data does not include the parking space on roads that cars take up in Dhaka . If included this would further raise the amount of space taken up by private cars. Every year the Rickshaw saves Bangladesh 100 billion taka in environmental damage.

The government makes many efforts to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka but with no success. Blaming Rickshaws for traffic congestion and subsequently banning them from major roads has not had the desired affect. Traffic is still as bad now as it was before the Rickshaws were banned on major roads. Rickshaws thus can not be seen as the major cause of traffic congestion. Instead one should look towards private cars and private car parking on roads as the major cause of traffic congestion. The space gained by banning Rickshaws is often used for private car parking. The current trend in transport planning reduces the mobility of the majority for the convenience of the minority. The next time a ban on Rickshaws on another road is discussed please take into consideration who is being hurt and who is being helped. For a better transport system in Dhaka we need to create a city wide network of Rickshaw lanes. If this is done Dhaka can reduce its fuel usage dramatically as well its pollution. We ask your help in our fight to keep Dhaka a Rickshaw city. Any information or help is very much appreciated and sought after. I write you this letter to describe the difficulties we are facing and some solutions but they are by no means exhaustive and we look forward to your help and input.

Author is the Volunteer of Save Environment Movement
syed saiful Alam Shovan  - Suggestions for Improving Transport in Dhaka |2008-08-13 08:44:00
Suggestions for Improving Transport in Dhaka

1. Maintain the use of rickshaws by
a) Canceling all planned bans on rickshaws from different roads;
b) Creating rickshaw-only lanes on major streets (including those that currently ban rickshaws), and
c) Considering a gradual shift to improved rickshaws that are easier to maneuver and more comfortable for passengers. If the rickshaw licensing system is to be maintained, set a higher level for the number of rickshaws, and base it on research into which all citizens can have input.

2. Cancel all plans for future flyovers, and use transportation budgets to improve public transit and conditions for NMT.

3. Make cars less affordable and available through reducing import of cars, raising registration fees and taxes, and restricting licenses.

4. Ban cars from small streets and lanes and from congested areas, and greatly reduce parking. Enforce a ban on parking on footpaths and on major streets.

5. Make cycling more safe and attractive by providing separate bicycle lanes on all major roads (creating a continuous cycle lane throughout the city) and by giving bicycles priority at traffic signals so they aren
Syed saiful alam  - Economic and other impact of ban on NMT pullers |2008-08-15 06:13:53
Economic and other impact of ban on NMT pullers

The HDRC study found various impacts on NMT pullers (rickshaws, vans and hand
carts) when comparing their situation before and after the ban. These include:
1. Average monthly net income of rickshaw pullers decreased by 32%, from
3,834 to 2,600 taka (see Table 1 and Figure 1 below). Overall, income for
NMT pullers declined by 34%.
2. The amount of money sent back to their villages also declined following the
ban. Before the ban, on average rickshaw pullers spent 64% of net income
and sent the rest (36%) to his village. Following the ban, the amount spent in
Dhaka decreased by 27%, while the amount sent to the village decreased by
41%. Similar patterns follow for other NMT pullers (see Table 1 and Figure
3. Pullers compensated for loss of income by reducing food consumption,
particularly of fish, meat, and cooking oil: for NMT pullers overall, 85.9%
decreased their consumption of fish, 87.5% decreased consumption of meat,
65.1% decreased consumption of cooking oil, and over half (55.3%) decreased
consumption of vegetables.
4. There was an increase in the number of income earners in the family from 1.24
to 1.37. This suggests that some children have been taken out of school to
compensate for lost income, or that the burden on wives of the pullers have
further increased as they must earn money as well as do all the family and
household labor.
5. Average number of working days per month for NMT pullers increased by
1.1 days (from 23.67 to 24.78 days a month), and for rickshaw pullers by 1.3
days (from 23.18 to 24.44 days a month).
6. Average number of working hours per day also increased, from 10.33 to 10.97
hours overall, and from 10.16 to 10.70 for rickshaw pullers.
7. More rickshaw pullers worked full-day than half-day shifts: 60.5% after the
ban, and 56.7% prior to the ban; the figures overall were 65.1% after the ban
and 61.5% prior to it.
8. Only about 5% of pullers reported a second income, and that second income
was insufficient to compensate for the loss of income from the ban.
9. Almost all the pullers (81.6% overall) were affected by loss of income; 86.1%
of van pullers reported decreased income.
10. Although HDRC recommends training in driving of MT for displaced pullers,
only 1.6% of pullers overall suggest that they be provided MT driver training,
while 55.9% asked for alternative rehabilitation and 31.6% suggested
construction of special lanes for NMT. Similarly, while only 6% wanted an
alternative profession in MT, 36% would like to take on petty trading, 27%
return to agriculture, and 23% take on day labour.
11. Only 4% of pullers supported NMT withdrawal on other major arterial roads;
fears expressed by them included hardship for the pullers and their families,
and concern that the move would lead to further deterioration of the law and
order situation in the country in general and Dhaka in particular.

source: Improving Dhaka
Ireen Sultana  - To Ban or not to Ban Rickshaw |2008-12-20 14:04:47
Our urban facing tendency bringing everyday a huge number of people to Dhaka. This floating people tries to get involve in different jobs and Rickshaw pulling is one of those.

Increasing number of rickshaws on roads in Dhaka city could not make our populated weather healthy yet. Rather the long rickshaw-congestion is occurring in separated rickshaw lanes. Top of that, chaos between passengers and rickshaw pullers is also an issue. No visible rickshaw-fare instruction available!

If our footpaths are spacious and clean enough to walk; we would prefer to walk rather taking any vehicles for sort distance spending five taka. However, encouraging cycling specially for the lower range earning people- like garments workers, should have a huge campaign.

Yes, we really need an efficient, long term traffic plan;.

- alternative roads
- well planned bus stoppages
- some standard transport facilities like monorail, internal rail route, may bring back the interest to use public transport among the upper class people. This will reduce the movement of private cars on roads.

We really need to standardized the bus route map. Each of the familiar places, shopping malls should be available in a route map. Need to combined all different bus service companies; else it
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