The Many Colors of Dhaka’s Buses
Perhaps unlike your city, the buses in Dhaka are not run by just a few companies. At our latest count, there are at least 60 different bus companies that operate within Dhaka city itself (and many more that run out of the city as well). While they are extremely colorful and diverse in their services, from ticketing and queueing to crowding and comfort, they are pretty hard to tell apart since there is no coordination of colors or bus types that operate in different parts of the city. While there are supposedly official route numbers licensed by the government, they are rarely marked on the buses and consequently, confuse even the most frequent riders.
Fortunately, through the efforts of our team over the past couple of weeks, we put together our first working database of the different bus routes in the city (which we are keeping open for anyone to peruse and mash-up). Please note that this database is a work in progress - and we are looking for any feedback that you might have!
The next step is taking this first database of routes and presenting it in a clear and useful way for the many bus riders of Dhaka. We are hoping that with a lot of dedicated work from our team and a bit of luck, we can get a “first print” ready in the next couple of weeks.
Being in Dhaka has helped to remind us that this map is by no means the solution to sustainable transport for this vibrant and rapidly growing metropolis - rather it is one of what we think are thousands, if not millions, of little strokes that can make the alternative transport experience a bit better. For a look at what this means, please see these videos of alighting from a moving bus in a popular textile market area called New Market and of crossing a giant pedestrian bridge to our office (something that may have saved our lives several times)
Albert, on behalf of the Urban Launchpad team