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11 August, 2018 12:58:37 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 August, 2018 08:00:17 AM
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No screening of bike ride-sharing increases danger on roads

FAISAL MAHMUD
No screening of bike ride-sharing  increases danger on roads

Bike ride-sharing service through mobile apps since their inception two years ago has earned immense popularity among commuters who found these speedy and relatively cheap services a sort of game-changer in traffic-clogged Dhaka.

 Banking on the soaring demands of commuters, the numbers of bike service providers, too, have increased in the past few years. Around 50,000-55,000 biker riders in the capital are now actively engaged in providing bike-sharing services.

 While seasoned bikers are there to give commuters a smooth riding experience, a large number of fledglings, too, have hit the roads to make quick bucks. Meet Ashraful Jubair, for instance, who has stopped using bike-ride for a reason.

 Jubair, a business development manager of an IT company in Dhaka was an avid user of ride-sharing app Pathao—the largest and the most popular bike-ride-sharing app, which enjoys over 80 per cent of the market share. But since the beginning of Ramadan this year, Jubair has stopped using Pathao’s services.

 “I had bad experiences. The last few riders I rode with drove very roughly. I almost had an accident once and I got really scared,” said Jubair.

 He said the riders were very young and he found that one of them just started driving on Dhaka roads just about a week earlier.

 “Can you imagine? The rider told me that he bought the bike so that he could ride it with Pathao. How the company allows such a novice biker to take passenger?” asked Ju.bair.

 The Independent asked the same question to Hussain Elius, the co-founder and CEO of Pathao. He said, “We allow a rider to use our system and app only if he has a driving license issued by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA).”

 “If the BRTA deems a person worthy of driving on Dhaka roads, we can’t have any objection there,” he added.

 Elius, however was reminded that a motorbike is usually meant for a single rider, but he begged to differ. “I don’t know of any traffic rules or laws in Bangladesh which say motorbike should be ridden only by a single person.”

 Afnan Akib, a third-year student of a private university, told The Independent that he bought a bike to earn money through ride-sharing service. “One of my friends told me that I can easily earn up to Tk 25,000 if I drive bike with a ride-sharing app,” said Akib with whom this correspondent took a ride.

 Akib has got registered both with Pathao and UberMoto. He told The Independent that he passed the driving license test and has been riding on the roads for the last four months. “I don’t find any problem in doubling.”

 While the riders don’t have any problem, many of the commuters begun feeling that allowing riders to use bike-ride-sharing apps without going through any sort of screenings, tests and trainings is making the already dangerous Dhaka roads “even more dangerous”.

 “In the last few months, I have heard and read news about several accidents on Dhaka streets, it makes me scared. I don’t feel safe now to ride on bikes,” said Hasib Rashid, a computer programmer, who used to ride with Pathao bikes very often.

 Also, said Rashid, most of the bikers with Pathao don’t have any helmets.

 Pathao CEO Elius told The Independent that they are taking “helmet issue” very seriously. “In our app, you will see the question after any ride that whether the biker offers the commuter any helmet?” Basing on the feedback, we found that most don’t. So we plant to solve it by ourselves.”

 He said Pathao has brought good quality helmets from China and they will start

distributing it to each of its biker so that the users of Pathao could be offered a helmet during

a ride.

“I believe, you will find no Pathao biker without an extra helmet within few months,” he said.

Imtiaz Quasem, CEO of Share-a-Motorbike (SAM) told The Independent that they conduct rigorous screening process before allowing a biker to take passenger through their system. “If the biker doesn’t have at least one year of driving experience, we don’t allow him to use our system.”

Quasem said allowing a biker to take passenger just because he has a driving license is a dangerous practice. “It is making the roads a dangerous place.”

Mahbub-E-Rabbani, BRTA director of Road Safety told The Independent that in the ride-sharing guideline, the provision of keeping an extra helmet is included. “So it’s a must,” he said.

When asked, Rabbni, however, said there was no mention of having a screening test for a biker to take passenger in the guideline. “We will discuss about this,” he said.

EA

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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