The Bangladesh Ride Sharing Association (Barsa) has called the road transport regulator for allowing them to resume ridesharing services immediately involving all types of vehicles, including motorcycles, according to their proposed standard operating procedures.
They have also asked the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to allow operation of all vehicles registered on ridesharing applications until the enlistment process is fully implemented over a one-year timeframe.
The association, through a press release on Monday, expressed deep disappointment over the BRTA decision to continue the suspension of two-wheeler ridesharing and to allow only 255 four-wheelers with enlistment certificates to provide ridesharing services in Dhaka and adjacent areas.
"We do not believe our large customer base can be reliably served with such a small and inadequate pool of vehicles," the Barsa said.
It also said it had formally repeatedly requested the BRTA to resolve the technical limitations in its enlistment portal and allow a one-year timeframe to facilitate smooth and systematic issuance of enlistment certificates.
While these issues remain unresolved, the drastic measure outlined in the BRTA directive is a blow to an entire industry that has created opportunities for a vast population, it said.
"We cannot see how the public interest of middle-class commuters and aspiring young income-earners has been served in this decision," it further said.
"We also note that the ridesharing industry has been poorly represented in the deliberations, and this is evident in the outcome. An international ridesharing operator had unilaterally approached and presented its recommendations to the regulators, excluding the local operators from this process."
As a result, the discussions failed to incorporate the local voices that would have highlighted the needs of the everyday commuters in Bangladesh who rely upon affordable transportation options such as motorbikes, and the plight of the underemployed youth who rely upon ridesharing for their livelihood, according to the release.