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Watch: Motorbike ride sharing gets Dhaka traffic moving

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Watch: Motorbike ride sharing gets Dhaka traffic moving
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Reuters
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For millions of Dhaka commuters resigned to wasting hours in grinding traffic, ride-sharing motorbikes are providing some relief.

The popularity of the schemes is surging in the Bangladeshi capital, one of the most congested cities in the world – where it can take more than an hour to drive 6km, close to walking speed.

The city frequently grinds to a halt during rush hour, and badly maintained roads and vehicles, poor driver discipline and a lack of investment on infrastructure are all to blame.

But the introduction of bike-sharing services is changing that. Service providers such as Pathao, Shohoz, Uber and 'O'Bhai are transporting hundreds of thousands of people every day on bikes, weaving through the narrow alleys and congested traffic lanes.

Dhaka launched app-based ride-sharing in May 2015. Since then, more than two dozen companies have sprung up and currently operate in the city, though only 12 are registered with the country's road transportation authorities.

CEO of bike-sharing provider Pathao, Hassan Melius, said: "So, right now we have over 5 million users who use Pathao to commute and we have 200,000 drivers who have registered on this platform. These are people who were previously unemployed or underemployed and they are earning through this platform and making a living, and that is something we are very, very proud of."

Congestion, according to the World Bank, eats up 3.2 million working hours per day in Dhaka and average traffic speed has dropped from 21km/h to 7km/h in the last 10 years, according to local media reports.

According to media reports quoting a study of the Policy Research Institute (PRI) in 2018, the market size of the ride-sharing industry covers around 23% of the transport sector in the country. The PRI report noted that ride-sharing companies paid their riders well, with a ride-share car owner expected to earn over $700 per month, double that of the city's average resident.