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Fuel Consumption and Environmental Impact of Rickshaw Bans in Dhaka

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  • AnnaLisa Wiley
    I received this letter this morning. If any of you have been involved in the political machinery that causes this kind of idiocy, perhaps you can help. At the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 27, 2007
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      I received this letter this morning. If any of you have been involved in the
      political machinery that causes this kind of idiocy, perhaps you can help.
      At the very least, it should remind us to count our blessings.


      From: Saiful Alam [mailto:shovan1209@...]
      Sent: Thursday, December 27, 2007 6:38 AM
      To: info@...
      Cc: arkadius1@...
      Subject: Fuel Consumption and Environmental Impact of Rickshaw Bans in Dhaka

      Fuel Consumption and Environmental Impact of Rickshaw Bans in Dhaka

      Dear all

      Most trips in Dhaka are short in distance, usually one to five kilometers.
      These trips are perfect of Rickshaws. Rickshaws are cheap and popular mode
      of transport over short distances. Rickshaws are safe, environmentally
      friendly and do not rely on fossil fuels. Rickshaws support a significant
      portion of the population, not only the pullers, but also their families in
      the villages, the mechanics who fix the rickshaws, as well as street hawkers
      who sell them food. From the raw materials to the finished product the
      Rickshaw employs some 38 different professions. Action needs to be taken to
      support the Rickshaw instead of further banning it in Dhaka . The combined
      profits of all Rickshaws out earn all other passenger transport modes (bus,
      rail, boats and airlines) combined. In Dhaka alone, Rickshaw pullers
      combine to earn 20 million taka a month.

      We think that over the coming holiday of Eid du Ajah, new Rickshaw bans will
      be put into action on roads in Dhaka . Eid was used in the past to place
      new bans on roads in Dhaka . Last Eid many roads were declared Rickshaw
      free without public support or approval. By banning Rickshaws roads are
      clogged with increased private car use as well as increased parking by cars.
      Banning of Rickshaws on major roads increases the transportation costs for
      commuters. Not only due to longer trips to avoid roads with bans in effect,
      but also due to actually having to take more expensive forms of transport
      such as CNG or Taxi, where in the past a Rickshaw would suffice. The
      environmental impact of banning Rickshaws is obvious because it exchanges a
      non-motorized form of transport for a motorized form of transport, thus
      increasing the pollution and harming the environment. Rickshaw bans harm
      the most vulnerable in society, mainly the sick, poor, women, children and
      the elderly; generally those who can not afford or do not feel comfortable
      on other forms of public transport. To ban Rickshaws also hurts small
      businesses that rely on them as a cheap and reliable form of transporting
      their goods. Rickshaws are ideal for urban settings because they can
      transport a relatively large number of passengers while taking up a small
      portion of the road. In 1998 the data showed that Rickshaws took up 38% of
      road space while transporting 54% of passengers in Dhaka . The private cars
      on the other hand, took up 34% of road space while only transporting 9% of
      the population (1998 DUTP). This data does not include the parking space on
      roads that cars take up in Dhaka . If included this would further raise the
      amount of space taken up by private cars. Every year the Rickshaw saves
      Bangladesh 100 billion taka in environmental damage.

      The government makes many efforts to reduce traffic congestion in Dhaka but
      with no success. Blaming Rickshaws for traffic congestion and subsequently
      banning them from major roads has not had the desired affect. Traffic is
      still as bad now as it was before the Rickshaws were banned on major roads.
      Rickshaws thus can not be seen as the major cause of traffic congestion.
      Instead one should look towards private cars and private car parking on
      roads as the major cause of traffic congestion. The space gained by banning
      Rickshaws is often used for private car parking. The current trend in
      transport planning reduces the mobility of the majority for the convenience
      of the minority. The next time a ban on Rickshaws on another road is
      discussed please take into consideration who is being hurt and who is being
      helped. For a better transport system in Dhaka we need to create a city
      wide network of Rickshaw lanes. If this is done Dhaka can reduce its fuel
      usage dramatically as well its pollution. We ask your help in our fight to
      keep Dhaka a Rickshaw city. Any information or help is very much
      appreciated and sought after. I write you this letter to describe the
      difficulties we are facing and some solutions but they are by no means
      exhaustive and we look forward to your help and input.

      Syed Saiful Alam Shovan


      Save Environment Movement

      House # 58/1, Kalabagan 1st lane

      Dhanmondi, Dhaka,Bangladesh

      Email <http://us.f570.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=shuvan1209@...>

      www environmentmovementbd.org.

      Syed Siful Alam Shovan


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