Women-friendly public transport is still a dream in the country, particularly availing bus services in the city, due to lack of concept in developing a proper passenger-friendly transport system.
Speakers at a workshop in the city on Monday made the above observation calling for bringing changes in the mindset of both bus operators and owners about passenger services and developing infrastructures like bus remodeling with proper seat arrangement, adjustment of footpaths and increasing facilities at bus stops and terminals.
Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) organised the workshop on "Women-friendly public transport: Problems and ways out' at its conference room with its Executive Director Khandaker Rakibur Rahman presiding.
Representatives from Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation, transport owners and workers' associations, NGOs including BRAC, and a female bus owner attended it.
Chief Executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association Syeda Rizwana Hasan was main speaker in the first session while Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges Jesmin Nahar attended the concluding session.
Architect Kaniz Fatema of Deshoj presented the keynote paper.
Advocate Rizwana said women commuters face extra challenges when the passenger services are not developed in all public transport sectors.
She underlined the need for bringing discipline in the sector in line with Bangladesh's graduation towards a middle-income country and said changes are needed in the transport sector to enjoy all economic achievements.
Jesmin Nahar stressed the need for developing professionalism in transport sector and said consciousness of drivers, helpers, workers as well as owners and motivational programmes are essential for bringing discipline in the sector.
Romesh Chandra Ghose of Shyamoli Paribahan alleged not getting government cooperation in making the transport sector passenger-friendly or women-friendly.
Daisy Akter from BRAC said despite BRAC's effort to employ female drivers in public transport, the initiative could not get success as the sector could not be developed as women-friendly.
She said creating scope for females as drivers may bring changes in the scenario.
The workshop put forwards a number of recommendations to ensure women friendly public transport system which included infrastructure development with user friendly concept and accountability of operators.
Salma Mahbub who works for the people with disabilities observed that the government's agency concerned is yet to take measures to enable physically challenged people to avail public transport though her organisation B Scan has placed recommendations long time ago.
The ED said with the introduction of Bus Route Franchise and mass transit system an improvement in the passenger service is expected.