Thirty articulated buses will hit important roads in the first week of March to ease severe transport problem and traffic congestion in the capital.
Ten of the buses have already arrived and another 10 will reach by the end of March, said officials at Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC).
With a cost of Tk 84 lakh for each bus, BRTC is importing a fleet of 50 articulated buses from India under an Indian line of credit. Indian company Ashok Leyland is supplying the buses through IFAD Autos Ltd of Bangladesh, they said.
BRTC Director (Technical) Abdullahel Karim said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to introduce the articulated buses.”
The buses, which are single-decked and longer than other buses, will ply the major routes like Motijheel to Mirpur, Tongi, Gabtoli and Azimpur to Gabtoli and Mirpur, he said.
Training is being given to a group of drivers, he said adding, "The trial is taking place on Gazipur-Mymensingh road. Once the drivers gain confidence, we will ask them to drive the buses to Dhaka after midnight to avoid traffic.”
With seating capacity of 58 persons, each of the buses will carry around 130 passengers per trip from early morning to late evening every day, he added.
Also known as bendy buses, the vehicles are comprised of two rigid sections and can bend in the middle.
Officials at communications ministry said the buses would ply the roads without any difficulty as their two carriages are flexible enough for making turns.
State-owned corporate transport body BRTC has a plan to introduce a new ticketing system, like that in Western countries. Passengers will have to insert coins or notes into vending machines on the articulated buses to get their tickets.
But, BRTC Director (Technical) Abdullahel Karim said initially they would go for either on or off or board ticketing or both to avoid difficulties.
Earlier in 2010, the government decided to import around 1,000 buses from different countries to meet the growing demand of passenger transport in the country.
The first lot of 275 single-deckers was imported from China in late 2010, followed by 255 single-deck buses from South Korea in 2011, and recently 290 double-deckers have been imported from India.
Import of 100 air-conditioned single-deckers is also in the pipeline. Ashok Leyland will start supplying the buses from April this year.
Now, BRTC has a fleet of 1,263 buses including 399 double-deckers.