Dhaka - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Rickshaws are the baseline of transit here and is usually the only allowable public transit for us. Recently Uber was approved but only with certain conditions. Most people walk, rickshaw, or have a driver. In my experience, when walking, people will beg for money and stare at you, on a rickshaw, people will stare at you (and the driver will overcharge you), in a private car, people will knock on your window and beg for money and stare at you, but you have air conditioning in this case. Some people make it through without having a bad experience and become very mobile with their emboldened confidence, while other people have a bad experience and end up shut up in their house the rest of their tour. I personally avoid moving about the city as best as I can because it's exhausting dealing with the traffic and the constant attention. Again, you know yourself better how you feel about it. - Jul 2023

No. Either get your own car (with or without a driver), or use the Embassy motorpool. - Dec 2021

Rickshaws and tuktuks are safe, buses less so, but I've taken them long distances when needed (Chittagong to CXB). - Sep 2021

Yes, they are. They are also generally packed with people and unsafe. Bus drivers are especially bad in Bangladesh, with little regard for road and passenger safety. I would avoid them if possible. CNGs (Tuk-Tuks in some areas) are tri-wheeled scooters with an enclosed seat area. They are driven by bus drivers who were too unsafe to drive a bus. I'd stay away from them, too. Last, there are abundant rickshaws. Slower and sometimes safer versions of the CNG. - Jun 2019

Not sure, I am not allowed to use them due to the restrictions of the diplomatic mission. - Jul 2018

Local transportation is very cheap, widely available and completely off limits to Embassy staff. As it is, local transportation can be rather dangerous, so even in the best of times, embassy staff were limited to taking rickshaws around the Diplomatic Enclave. People also used to travel by train and river boat, but embassy staff are no longer allowed to travel for recreational purposes anywhere in Bangladesh, by any means. - Apr 2017

I'm sure they're very affordable, but they're not safe. RSO has prohibited the Embassy community from using public transportation. - Jun 2016

RSO forbids use of public transportation. - May 2016

No - Jun 2015

No. I don't take ANY public transport. People occasionally ride on rickshaws (pedicab), affordable but agree on price before you get on, some get dropped off at different location without wanting to. - Sep 2014

No safe. They're prohibited. - Aug 2014

No. CNGs are metal death traps on three wheels. Rickshaws are the most common place to get pick pocketed. Buses are held together with spit and tape, imported after they are decommissioned in other countries, like China, and usually over crowded including the roof. Most of it's prohibited, so plan to buy a car. Regional trains are okay. - Jul 2014

Embassy personnel are prohibited from taking buses (watch the 2nd Amazing Race episode if you want to know why!), taxis, and tuk-tuks. You can take inter-city trains for trips - they are cheap. You can use cycle rickshaws or the motor pool like a taxi service if you don't have a car. - Aug 2013

No, use the motorpool. Trains are okay. Rickshaws are also okay. - Apr 2013

Some use rickshaws, but RSO not fond of them, and crime is steadily increasing on rickshaws with expats. I'd vote against using any local transportation. - Aug 2011

Not safe. - Jun 2011

We're not allowed to use city buses (but who would want to?), and the train doesn't go anywhere you'd want to. You really can't survive here without a car, but the Embassy has a readily available and inexpensive motorpool service that acts as a local taxi service, at least within the diplomatic zone. - Feb 2011

Bicycle rickshaws are very cheap for short distances. Taxis are usually only found at the airport but are NOT safe. Nobody takes buses or trains. - Jan 2011

Affordable but unsafe. - Jan 2011

Embassy staff are not allowed to take this type of transport, although the use of Rickshaws is presently allowed. - Oct 2010

There are small baby-taxis (3-wheeled gas powered), and rickshaws are everywhere. - Apr 2010

Embassy personnel are not allowed to use local buses, taxis, or auto-rickshaws (CNGs).They are affordable, however. Intercity buses and trains vary--they can be dirty and dangerous (bus accidents are very, very common on intercity roads), and expats rarely use them. Bicycle rickshaws are allowed, though you can't get that far on one. A car is definitely needed. - Oct 2009

No. - Aug 2009

All public transportation is cheap, but it is not always recommended/authorized by the powers that be. That said, we took the train for a weekend trip and enjoyed it. Taxis, rickshaws, and buses are an adventure I would not recommend, especially not at night. - Mar 2009

Never rode trains, though it sounds interesting. Buses are pretty good, though you will need to wait in lines. All kinds of motorized and petal-power taxis and rickshaws available and safe if you have some language and coaching. - Nov 2008

NO! Not safe at all. - Oct 2008

I've taken the train and it was safe. Friends have taken the luxury buses without any hassle. All are affordable. The airlines don't have the best reputation but more private ones are popping up all the time and a round-trip domestic flight costs about US$100. - Feb 2008

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