POST TIME: 22 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Registration leash on services from July 1
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Registration leash on services from July 1

 The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) will start registering ride-sharing app services in the country from the beginning of next month. The transport regulator took the decision at a meeting at its Banani office here. Abdus Sattar, director (enforcement) of BRTA, said most ride-sharing services, including Uber, Sohoz, Pathao and Obahi, were not abiding by the ride-sharing guidelines for them. “They haven’t shared their databases yet. We have, however, decided to register these ride-sharing services because without that they are practically operating without any governance,” he added.

The BRTA director said the ride-sharing services will have to incorporate the emergency dial-999 in their apps by the beginning of next month. In January 2018, the government had enacted the ride-sharing guidelines after the rise in popularity of services like Uber and Pathao in the city.

The guidelines mandate the companies and owners of ride-sharing vehicles to obtain an enlistment certificate from BRTA. Also, ride-sharing firms must add an SOS button in their apps which will enable users to send their location and other data through the national helpline during an emergency.

The guidelines also stipulate the setting up of a system that will allow the police to monitor every trip from a control room. The companies concerned and law enforcers are supposed to do the job jointly, but it is yet to be done. The companies have to

update data of their drivers from their national ID cards and crosscheck these with the Election Commission (EC), which oversees the database of citizens’ details, the guidelines state. However, an EC letter dated October 25, 2018 told the BRTA that it would not allow any company to access the database for crosschecking the details of drivers before the firms get the enlistment certificate.

Besides, the call centres of the companies must remain open 24x7. However, the companies that have received BRTA’s permission to set up the centres are yet to follow this stipulation.

Ahmed Fahad, vice-president of Pathao, told The Independent that they have dedicated customer services personnel and all customer complaints are taken very seriously. “We have our hotlines through which customers can lodge complaints or give suggestions. So, I think this is a wrong allegation that we don’t pay heed to the customer complaints,” he added.

Fahad also said they have been abiding by every BRTA rule for ride-sharing services. “It’s good that the government has taken steps to get us registered from July this year,” he added.

Quazi Omar Ferdous, chief operating officer of Obhai, said they have already incorporated 999 in its apps. “We will get the registration done as soon as possible,” he added.