Levels of Overcrowding in Bus System of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - bus, operations - crowding, operations - performance


overcrowded buses, India


Overcrowded buses are a common sight in Dhaka, Bangladesh, as they swerve between rickshaws and auto-rickshaws and blare their horns, with the next stop announced by a shout. Two primary bus services operate in the city, ticketed and local, differing in fare collection, stop patterns, and price. They carry the largest share of trips in Dhaka, and both are overcrowded. Understanding the differences between the two, and how crowding affects their curbside operations, could show which is the more effective way of moving passengers. A method to evaluate a system that seems disorderly from the outside was developed, and the effects that crowded conditions have on performance were studied. Data were collected during a half-year period through onboard studies of bus dwell times and loads the buses carry. Despite the uncomfortable conditions crowded buses create for passengers, the buses operate more efficiently for the volumes carried. Local buses in particular were shown to be more effective in transporting the population. Still, Dhaka must live with overcrowded buses until a mass transit system to relieve overcrowding can be built.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by TRB, copyright remains with them.