As ride sharing companies become popular, some unwanted events seem to be happening that threaten the users of these services. The Business Standard has spoken with Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Association and eminent transport and safety expert Dr Md Shamsul Hoque about the situation.
Dr Md Shamsul Hoque
Transportation and safety expert
Recently there has been some unexpected events seen that is related to the ride sharing scene. I think taking a ride without using the apps is the reason behind this unfortunate situation. It is my understanding that government should take the initiative in rectifying this situation. Neither the general people nor the ride sharing companies have much to do except staying vigilant.
It is only to be expected that during pick hour's people get desperate to reach their destination by any means possible, so they sometimes opt out of using the apps even though it is risky. The fact that sometimes taking a ride outside the app is cheaper, which also prompts this dangerous behavior.
The government, mostly the authorities concerned and the law enforcement need to be more responsible in this case, so much so that anyone should not be allowed to share a ride without apps.
If someone goes out with a bike and a spare helmet, they can easily act like someone who's using the ride sharing apps and commit a crime. This will reflect badly on all 14 of the registered ride sharing companies.
Ride sharing apps are truly a blessing, they have so much potential to make our lives easy. In many countries these apps are used smoothly and without many negative occurrences. However in this country these apps are being abused and if this continues, the passengers will not have a safe alternative anymore.
Once something grave happens and creates a big headline in the newspapers and maybe that will provide the government enough headache to take proper measures. For the welfare of the general people and the companies, there needs to be proper surveillance in place.
Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury
Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Association
The ride sharing companies are supposed to maintain appropriate units to receive complaints from the passengers along with the units for maintaining their services. But things in Bangladesh are different. In this country, neither Uber nor the dozens other existing ride sharing companies have appropriate passengers' complaint services.
To push the passengers' misery even further, the concerned government agencies in charge of transport services also do not have such services. As a result, the victims apparently have nowhere to go for justice for the hassle they suffer each day in the transport sector. They roam around here and there for assistance but in futile because a system to assist these passengers is yet to develop. Even if they can manage to contact their respective service providers, it is a matter of dispute if they can avail justice at all.
To get rid of harassment in this ride sharing sector, we must have to address these issues now. We have to ask these agencies that how their drivers can harass and threaten the passengers and get away with it.
If this growing market is to be protected, these issues must be addressed soon. There are a number of ride sharing companies now. We have been demanding proper regulation of this sector since the beginning of its journey in Bangladesh. If our demands were addressed and proper regulatory system was at place, these horrific stories of harassment could have been avoided.
The story of these two women may have surfaced and we are speaking out against what they went through. But many such stories never even reached us. Many passengers do not even expose the injustice they suffer on the roads because a lack of trust prevails regarding our queries.
We would like to seek the attention of BRTA and the traffic department of the government. The people in charge of these institutions should be sincere about responding to these allegations. They have to ensure exemplary punishment for the culprit.
If these incidents of harassment get justice, the other ride sharing companies will be careful and set up facilities to address problems of the passengers.