The city was poised to expand the ban to cover a total of 120 km over the next several months. While the initial proposal for the ban came out of an urban transport strategy developed under the auspices of a World Bank urban transport loan for Dhaka, after questions were raised by NGOs, the World Bank determined that the way in which the cycle rickshaw ban was implemented violated their urban transport policy.
“Any future support from the World Bank would be possible only if it can be demonstrated that aggregate positive impacts of NMT-free [non-motorized-transportation-free] conversion on transport users and transport providers outweigh the aggregate negative impact,” Bangaldesh Country Director Christine Wallich wrote in a statement. “The bank would not support the continued conversions that do not conform to the above principles, and any support would be contingent on the government carrying out mitigation measures to reduce the negative impacts, and alleviate public concern.”
While automobiles represent only 9% of Dhaka’s traffic stream, walking and cycle rickshaws are the most popular forms of transport, respectively. Nearly half a million cycle rickshaws are used by city residents for their mobility and livelihood. Most dependent on cycle rickshaws are women, school children, and low-income garment workers.
Although the Bank has not asked for the two existing bans to be reversed, Wallich urged that several measures “be completed as soon as possible to mitigate the impact on affected transport users and providers.” These included a program to retain rickshaw drivers for other trades, improvements of bus service and infrastructure, and the designation of a network of streets for “non-motorized vehicles only.”
More information is available from the World Carfree Network: https://www.worldcarfree.net