There are many roads in Dhaka where rickshaws are not allowed, yet they manage to somehow sneak in. However, an innovative technology – the rickshaw trapper – can now control rickshaw entry to restricted roads effectively.
The trapper, implemented in Hatirjheel area a week ago, was invented by Bangladeshi engineer Jahan-E-Alam. He hopes it will reduce traffic gridlock often caused by rickshaws on roads where they are not allowed.
The rickshaw trapper allows motorbikes, CNG auto-rickshaws, cars or buses, but locks the wheels of rickshaws trying to cross it.
“The device works in a simple way. It is like an iron speed-breaker that locks only rickshaw wheels. If the rickshaw-puller stops at the beginning – it will be easier to remove the wheels from the trapper. But if he tries to cross it, the rickshaw will be locked and it will take hours to get out from the trap,” Alam told the Dhaka Tribune.
On roads where traffic police control rickshaw entrance, yet rickshaw pullers entered those roads illegally anyway, this trapper is expected to automatically maintain discipline.
Mejor Kazi Shakil Hossain, project officer of Hatirjheel, said rickshaw entrance had reduced by almost 90% after they implemented the trapper near Modhubagh entrance to Hatirjheel last Thursday.
Saddad Hossain, a rickshaw puller, told the Dhaka Tribune that he used to take that turn before, but after seeing the rickshaws stuck in the trapper, he did not dare cross it.
Another rickshaw puller Monjurul Islam said: “I have never been trapped but I helped some rickshaw pullers to get free from the trap, as it is impossible for one person to unlock the wheel.”
Engineer Alam said he had been working with the idea for 10 years. In 2003, he built the first trapper on Eskaton Road in Banglamotor area as an experiment.
“Though I submitted the plan to the Roads and Highways Department and they found it useful, no progress has been made,” he added.
On September 26, Alam made the trapper near Modhubagh when the Hatirjheel authorities wanted to implement his project.
“This time, I made the 7-metre trapper with stainless steel, so that it can take load and sustain for a long time,” said the inventor. He previously built trappers in Shyamoli, which worked for three years and then became ineffective due to lack of maintenance. He also made two others in Nilkhet and Maghbazar.
“We fixed the trapper at only one point, and it seems helpful for the link roads as the rickshaws manage to enter by those roads. We are thinking of making it double-layered. The experimental single layer is working well, but a double layer would bring 100% result,” said Major Shakil.
“It is experimental, and if we get the expected results, we will apply these trappers at some more points, after getting approval from the Buet traffic experts,” he added.
Alam said: “I wanted to work with the idea and wanted to prove that it will be helpful. Finally, I got a call from the Hatirjheel authorities.”
“I want to convey my call to rickshaw pullers and passengers that they must not break the rules,” said the inventor.