The CNG fare is too expensive, rickshaws are banned on VIP roads, ‘tempos’ are too dangerous and the metro rail hasn’t seen the light of day yet. On top of that, you can’t afford a car and if you could, you can’t keep up with the fuel charges and you can’t really turn to gas because that too is becoming rarer and dearer.
Indeed, travelling in Dhaka city can be a real pain, even if you take the traffic jam out of the equation. So, what’s the best option? If you are plying the Gazipur-Joydevpur-Tongi-Uttara-Mohakhali-Farm Gate-Shahbagh-Press Club-Zero Point route, then you are in luck because that’s where BRTC has launched brand new articulated buses.
With a 120 passenger capacity having 58 seating, these articulated buses add a first world dimension to the roads of the city. Of course, our luxury buses are the developed counterparts of our normal buses, but that doesn’t make the articulated buses any less special. They are a grand sight to behold and are quite comfortable too.
Plastic seats are the choice of all BRTC buses and this is no different. However, as with most seating arrangements on the newer additions to BRTC’s fleet, these buses too are quite spacious. There is no air cooler or option to push your seat back and relax a little, but there is leg space and that is a luxury for Bangladesh’s buses.
BRTC’s counters are also very efficient and the ticketing is taken seriously. There are currently 10 of these buses snaking through the roads and thus the bus stops aren’t packed with people as one would expect.
There is a lot of bonding going on with all the people on board and thus there’s plenty to keep you excited and busy. Unless you are the anti-social type in which case you can always fiddle with your phone. With over a 100 people, it’s also quite safe.
Speaking of safety, the articulated buses need around 10.45 metres turning radius compared to a 10.05 turning radius to a normal bus, thus the new buses tend to be slower. Although, this can be an inconvenience, it does help avoid accidents. Plus, they tell us it’s good also because they can pick up passengers on the go, but we know how that really works out. But yes, it’s comparatively slower but that makes it a nice hang out place, with friends. Or not.
The benefits far outweigh the costs in this case. Therefore, your possible dilemma of how to go from point A to point B should now not be too difficult to solve.
BRTC plans to increase the fleet of their articulated buses to 50 and add more routes. That’s taking seven thousand people off the streets of Dhaka, a city of over 12 million, for an hour. Not really a dent but until the metro rail becomes a reality and we all learn to abide by traffic laws, its one heck of an improvement.
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed