July 19, 2024, 3:22 am


Special Correspondent

Published:
2024-07-01 12:29:15 BdST

Maiden smart school bus service for students


To ensure safe commuting of students to and from their educational institutes and reduce traffic jams in school areas, the first smart bus service for school students is going to be launched on 3 July with just one school and three buses.

Instead of purchasing new buses, three buses of the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) are hired by Banani Bidyaniketan School and College for this purpose. The buses can transport 225 students to and from the school.

The Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has taken the initiative with the aim of reducing traffic jams in Dhaka city by bringing students under bus service.

Earlier, DNCC sat with the representatives of a number of schools in Banani and Gulshan areas to launch the new services with modern security facilities.

Initially, one school agreed to avail of the services.

Md Kamruzzaman, manager of BRTC’s Joarsahara Bus Depot, and Dr Mashiur Rahman, principal of Banani Bidyaniketan School and College, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 27 June on leasing three buses for two years.

The manager of BRTC’s Joarsahara Bus Depot said they agreed to provide three buses with a capacity of carrying 225 students for two years.

The principal of Banani Bidyaniketan School and College said they have more than 4,000 students, and only 225 students can avail of the service in the initial phase.

Primarily, the bus services will be introduced on three routes: Saidnagar-Gulshan-2 to Banani, Kuril-Notunbazar-Gulshan-2 to Banani, and Gulshan-1-Chairman Bari to Banani.

Dr Mashiur said, “Our students are mainly transported to school by school vans and coaches, which are not safe for them. Besides, many students use private cars, which cause traffic jams and emit CO2. The initiative will cover both our goals.”

The buses will have a special security feature, as guardians will get messages on their mobile phones when their children board and disembark. A private company will facilitate us with digital tracking services inside the buses.

He said, “BRTC will transport our students at 30% lower costs than other services. To avail of the services, each student has to pay Tk800–1,200 per month. Primarily, students from third grade onwards will be given priority for the services.”

He said they had a target of adding 10 to 12 buses to their fleet in January next year.

DNCC Secretary Mohammed Masud Alam Siddique said they were motivating more schools to introduce the services for their students.

He said, “We have spoken to four renowned schools about introducing the services, but they have yet to come to an agreement with us. There is a similar service in Chattogram that is gaining popularity among students.”

He added that BRTC had assured them to provide more buses, as 400 new buses were being added to their fleet very soon.

Former director of Accident Research Institute of BUET Prof Md Hadiuzzaman said that all attempts to reduce traffic jams will fail without the zoning of schools and raising the standard in the education system at schools.

“I want to see the attempt of Banani Bidyaniketan School as a pilot project. It may not be a fruitful project due to BRTC’s inability to serve many Dhaka schools. Besides, the project may suffer in the long run due to the sufferings of the students who will get in a bus first in the morning and drop off last at the end of the day,” he added.

The public transport expert further said, “I will rather suggest to the city planning authorities to decentralise schools in Dhaka and bring them within walking distance of the students. The Ministry of Education can work to close the gap between the standards of education at different schools.”

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