In a desperate bid to improve taxicab service, the government has decided to involve Bangladesh Army to launch a new taxicab service for the capital and Chittagong metropolis.
Under the new scheme, the army will import 5,000 good quality AC and non-AC taxicabs — 3,000 for Dhaka and rest for Chittagong — from Japan.
“The import is expected to begin from this October,” Communications minister Obaidul Quader told a function.
He said the government had accepted the army proposal considering the fact that the disciplined force would be able to operate the service in a systematic and secured manner.
An army delegation led by its chief has recently met the communications minister at the Setu Bhaban and formally placed the proposal to run the taxicab service in the two major cities, which seriously lacked the service.
As per the primary discussion, a memorandum of understanding will be signed between the army and the communications ministry to outline the routes, fares, meters and 24-hour operation.
Sources in the ministry said a central system would be established to monitor each cab through GPS and video cameras.
There would also be a hotline option so that anyone could call for a cab anytime from anywhere in the two cities, said the sources, adding that the good quality cabs would be deployed at airports and railway stations.
The communications minister said the Army Welfare Trust would invest in importing the cabs.
He said, “Retired officers and drivers of the army will be engaged to operate the service, which will be monitored by the communications ministry.”
The minister said the police department had also showed interest in importing and operating taxicabs in the country. “We may consider this proposal too,” he added.
Despite several attempts in the last few years, the government could not bring in new taxicabs.
“We had to relax a policy in this regard and only one local company has recently got the permission to import some taxis,” he said explaining the reason behind agreeing to the army proposal.
“Dhaka, a city of 1.5 crore people, cannot be considered as a modern city unless it has good taxi service,” added Quader.
Presently, about 1,000 cabs are operating in the capital and their service is way too poor.
Source: The Daily Star