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A problem we can’t ride away from

  • Published at 06:05 pm November 3rd, 2019
Ride sharing
Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Ride-sharing is leading to increased congestion and more road accidents

Ride-sharing services have now become a necessary evil in our country. It saves a lot of time for many people, and also reduces the wild monopoly of CNG drivers. But it has its demerits, too. It has increased congestion levels on the roads, and there is also a rise in the number of accidents in the city.

From 1995 to 2005, road surface in Dhaka increased by only 5%, while the number of inhabitants increased by 50%, and traffic alarmingly by 134%. According to a World Bank report, average traffic speed dropped from 21kmph to 7kmph in the past 10 years, which is slightly above the usual walking speed of a person.

Consequently, congestion in Dhaka city eats up 3.2 million working hours per day.

Ride-sharing apps came to rescue people from the discomfort of public transport. These apps also created jobs and reduced the impact of the gang-like influence of CNG drivers. Ride-sharing apps opened a new business opportunity for investors. 

Consequently, however, there are more cars and bikes on the roads nowadays, creating an additional pressure on our ongoing traffic crisis. Additionally, more and more people are inclined to use these rides to save time or ride in comfort. So they refrain from using public transport and, for one or two passengers, there are extra private cars on the road. 

For a few cases like this, there would be no lasting effect on the day to day traffic. Sadly, this is not some isolated incident, but has instead become a daily practice in our lives. People tend to avail the easiest and most comfortable solution, and there is nothing wrong with that. 

Therefore, the point of discussing this is to popularize the mass transport system. We need to make mass transport systems more reliable and more systematic for the middle and upper middle classes. They can then depend on the public transport system and start using the facilities it provides. 

There is another formidable side of these ride-sharing apps which is much more terrifying than losing a few hours a day. This rise in vehicles on the road contributes to the recent surge of road accidents. Motorbike riders and passengers are the usual victims, as most drivers tend to hurry towards their destinations.

Drivers aim to complete more rides in a minimum amount of time to augment their daily income, and to do so they often disregard general safety regulations. Their sudden turns without indication and zigzag movements also distress other drivers on the road.

The government should strictly enforce road and traffic laws and increase facilities for mass transportation if it wants to save the time and lives of its citizens. Otherwise, ride-sharing services will become a curse rather than a blessing. 

Although traffic police have enforced some laws well enough, there is still much more to do. If the government takes serious steps, then citizens will have nothing to do but abide by the rules of the road. 

Niaz Islam Arif is a development worker.

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