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ULAB survey: Mitigation strategies a must before resuming public transport

  • Published at 09:23 pm July 9th, 2020
In pictures: Public transports resume after shutdown story RD-kamalapur railway stationIn pictures: Public transports resume after shutdown

The study also suggested bringing ticket prices back to pre-pandemic levels

A study suggested taking mitigation strategies before reopening public transport services in the country.

The survey, titled “Reopening the Bangladesh Economy: Search for a Framework”, was conducted by the Center for Enterprise and Society (CES), an initiative of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).

The survey was conducted on 100 experts comprising of entrepreneurs, senior leaders, and analysts.

It stated that though public transport represents a very high-risk sector for spreading coronavirus, the vast majority of Bangladeshis rely on public transport. 

In light of this, the sector should reopen only if strict health directives were followed.

However, the study also mentioned some mitigation strategies which may help to cushion the fallout from the pandemic. 

These include limiting the number of passengers so that social distancing can be maintained; zigzag sitting patterns; embarking and disembarking from the public vehicles in a more disciplined manner than usual; maintaining a queue; digital payment facilities and making wearing of masks mandatory for all passengers, and staff.

Moreover, the study also suggested bringing ticket prices back to pre-pandemic levels. 

It said public transportation reopened primarily to help the lower-income and middle-income groups, who were hit hard financially due to the countrywide shutdown. 

These groups were hit hard financially due to the three-month lockdown. As a result, increased fares will adversely affect their already over-stretched resources. 

If not to help these people, it makes no sense to reopen such a high-risk sector, the survey observed. 

Recommendations also included designating public transport at zones with low population density. 

The survey also suggested for dedicated bike-lanes for motorcycles, which may reduce the burden on public transports. 

Implementing bike-lanes not only helps during this pandemic but also sets a good precedence for the future and possibly lower the number of automobile-bike collisions drastically, the survey mentioned. 

Subsidizing the motorcycle production industry and incentivizing people to buy more bicycles may be possible policy avenues to explore.

However, the study also emphasized on massive awareness-raising campaigns with greater penetration of means of mass communication to bring the success of all safety measures.

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