Zahid Hossain Biplob: Bangladesh Road Transport Cooperation (BRTC) is going to launch 100 new CNG-run buses for city dweelers with a view to mitigating the shortage of public transport as well as improving transport service.
Sources said, the authorities concernered of BRTC has taken the decision amid much criticism over quality and durability of the public vehicles.
However, the loss-incurring state- run organisation is likely launch the CNG-run buses for city service from mid January.
The BRTC will utilise amounting to US$2 billion Line of Credit from India, according to BRTC officials.
In this backdrop, the government signed an agreement with Indian EXIM Bank in March last year for availing $2 billion.
Under the agreement, the government will implement some 14 development projects.
Under the agreement, the Indian automobiles manufacturer SGN will supply the buses at a cost of Tk 5 to 5.5 million each, are expected to join the fleet of the BRTC in January 15.
BRTC Chairman Farid Ahmed Bhuiya said they made the decision to improve its transport service in the country. “A shortage of buses is currently hampering the BRTC service,” he told Daily Industry yesterday.
Commenting on the quality of the new vehicles, Farid Ahmed confidently said, such buses are operatng in India which is recognised the highest quality. BRTC will have to pay Tk 50-55 lac for one bus, he also added.
According to BRTC official sources, the state-run agency has a total of 1,430 passenger buses including air conditioned and non air-conditioned buses but the number of operational buses is only 936. Some 115 of those buses are being run under long-term leasing.
They said 392 passenger buses are being repaired at the depots in Gazipur and Tejgaon while 102 other buses have been declared as BER (Beyond Economic Repair) and are waiting to be through tender.
BRTC has 398 inter-district buses in 151 routes across the country while 243 passenger buses are being run in Dhaka city in 51 routes and seven buses in Chittagong city area.
The state-run agency also operates three school buses in two routes, 17 buses for women (15 in the capital and two in Chittagong city) in 14 routes, 131 buses for university service in 68 routes, 136 for staff bus in 107 routes and six buses for international service in five routes, the sources added.