Bus Rapid Transit scheduled for July 2023 launch

The long-awaited Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which promises to cut travel time between Dhaka and Gazipur to around 40 minutes, is finally set to go live in July next year.

According to Dhaka Bus Rapid Transit (Dhaka BRT) officials, more than 78% of the construction work is already complete and all the basic structures are expected to be ready by the end of this year or the beginning of the year. next.

The BRT project, which will run from Dhaka Airport to Shibbari to Gazipur, started in November 2012 and was expected to be completed by December 2016 at a cost of Tk 2,037.9 crore. However, the project has been repeatedly delayed due to difficulties with site acquisition and relocation of utilities, inadequate drainage, lack of contractor funding and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last extended deadline passed in June and the cost of the project has so far risen to Tk 4,268.3 crore, but the light at the end of the tunnel is now visible, according to Shafiqul Islam, Managing Director of Dhaka BRT Company.

“We will start operation of Dhaka BRT in July next year as the basic structure will be completed by this year or March 2023,” he said.

The project administrators previously requested an extension to December 2023, along with an additional Tk268.13 crore and one year of fault liability. The project would cost Tk 4,536.46 crore if permitted.

About 130 air-conditioned electric buses are expected to transport 4,000 passengers between Dhaka and Gazipur every day after the launch of the BRT.

During a recent visit to the project area, it was found that the construction of the six flyovers at different intersections was nearing completion. Pitch casting work was in progress.

Roads and Highways Department, Bangladesh Bridge Authority and Local Government Engineering Department are implementing different parts of the project under the supervision of Dhaka BRT.

How the BRT will work

Project officials said people could get from the nearby town of Gazipur, where the cost of living is significantly lower, to Dhaka in 35 to 40 minutes on the 20.5 kilometer bus route. The journey currently takes between 1h30 and 3h00, depending on traffic.

Some regular commuters between Dhaka and Gazipur were skeptical about the BRT, as Dhaka airport is not a place many of them go to.

Gulistan or Motijheel would be better access points, commuters said.

Project officials said access to the BRT would not be a problem for passengers as it would be connected to Motijheel and Kamalapur through the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) project.

“BRT passengers can get a dedicated bus to take the metro from Uttara station in Diyabari,” said Shafiqul Islam, MD of Dhaka BRT company.

Through the use of dedicated lanes, BRT buses will be able to transport passengers between 25 stations at intervals of 2 to 5 minutes. The stations will be equipped with an electronic ticketing system, ticket machines and an intelligent transport system (ITS) for the convenience of passengers.

There are no plans to extend the service to Mohakhali at the moment, the Dhaka BRT Company MD added.

Although the BRT promises to bring significant benefits in the future, the project has significantly increased traffic congestion in several places in the capital due to the narrowing of roads by construction works.

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