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Motorbike ride-sharing alleviates Dhaka traffic chaos

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(This September 27 story has been refiled to appropriate first title of Pathao CEO to Hussain, no different modifications to textual content.)

FILE PHOTO: Vehicles are seen caught in a heavy traffic after workplace hours throughout Ramadan in Dhaka July 7, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

By Rafiqur Rahman

DHAKA (Reuters) – Ride-sharing bike providers are surging in reputation within the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, the place nightmare traffic usually signifies that strolling is quicker than touring by automobile or bus.

Congestion in Dhaka, one of many world’s most crowded cities with a inhabitants of 20 million, eats up 3.2 million working hours per day, based on a 2017 World Bank examine. Average traffic speeds have dropped to 7km per hour from 21km/h over the past decade, solely barely sooner than the typical strolling pace.

The debut of app-based ride-sharing providers in May 2015 has helped to alleviate this drawback. These days, service suppliers like Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N), Pathao, Shohoz and OBHAI transport lots of of hundreds of individuals on a regular basis on bikes, navigating slim alleys and congested traffic lanes.

“Sharing a bike ride saves me a lot of time, I can reach anywhere on time,” mentioned Khadija Khan, a private-sector worker who usually hitches a motorbike experience.

The ride-sharing trade in Bangladesh is price an estimated 22 billion taka ($260 million) and accounts for about 23% of the transport sector within the nation, based on a 2018 examine by the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI).

Local bike ride-sharing service Pathao now has over 5 million customers and greater than 200,000 registered drivers, based on its chief govt, Hussain M. Elius.

“A trip which previously used to take two hours with uncomfortable rides on rickshaws and buses, now only takes 40 minutes,” Elius mentioned. “That not only saves time but also increases productivity.”

The creation of motorcycle sharing apps just isn’t solely offering aid to commuters used to losing hours in gridlocked traffic, additionally it is creating employment alternatives for hundreds.

“For a young man like me from a low-income family, it is a big source of income,” mentioned pupil Lokman Hossain, who owns a bike.

However, unskilled bike drivers and reckless driving are sometimes cited as one of many foremost causes for a latest spike in traffic accidents in Bangladesh. More than 4,000 individuals die in highway accidents annually, one of many world’s highest charges.

Massive pupil protests sparked by the loss of life of two youngsters mowed down by a dashing bus within the capital final July led to road battles and the usage of tear fuel and rubber bullets by police.

The following month, the nation’s cupboard permitted elevating the utmost jail sentence for rash driving deaths to 5 years from three.

Reporting by Rafiqur Rahman; Writing by Ruma Paul; Editing by Karishma Singh and Christopher Cushing


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