National, Front Page

Mad rush to terminals

Published : 17 Jul 2021 10:01 PM | Updated : 18 Jul 2021 12:57 AM
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With the relaxation of the lockdown ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, the homebound people have started leaving the capital Dhaka to celebrate the Eid with their dear ones at village homes.

After visiting different bus terminals in the city including Gabtali, Mohakhali and Sayedabad it was seen that most of the passengers could not broad the buses in due time. Moreover, the directives for the vehicles were flouted.

The number of buses was not enough for the large number of passengers waiting at the terminals. In addition, the public vehicles were directed to ply with half of the total capacity. Therefore, the suffering of the passengers was at its peak.

There was an immense crowd but there were not enough buses at Gabtoli bus terminal, one of the busiest bus terminals in the city.

Several hundreds of homebound people were seen waiting at the counters for hours since Saturday morning. Many of them couldn't get a ticket till afternoon. Many others were waiting for the buses as there were not available buses at the counter.

Md Rubayet came to the terminal at 7 in the morning and bought a ticket of 'Royal Express' to go to Chuadanga. But it was 2:00pm and he was still waiting for his bus. 

“The counters are charging more than the fixed fare. Earlier, it was Tk 400 per seat. With 60% increment, it would be around Tk 650-700. But, Tk 900 was charged for a single seat on Saturday,” Rubayet added.

When contacted the supervisor of the ticket counter, he said, “The bus is stuck in traffic jam. Moreover, the buses return Dhaka with almost no passenger so we are charging bit extra-fare to meet the loss.”

Sources said that immense traffic congestions at the ferry terminals and on different roads across the country have been seen. The buses and other vehicles could not reach at the destinations on time due to this jeopardy.

A spokesperson of the 'Golden Line' Paribahan told the Bangladesh Post, "There is adequate number of buses. But they are stuck due to traffic jams. So the buses could not return Dhaka in due time. Therefore, the passengers had to wait longer than the regular time.”

One of the passengers, Md Jahangir, was seen waiting with his wife and two children hopelessly at Gabtoli bus terminal on Saturday noon. He told Bangladesh Post, “I have been waiting here since morning. During this period, I have been asking the counters to give me some tickets but I didn’t get any.”

“I don't know what I should do with my wife and children. I have got out of my home with bag and baggage. I need to go to my village home. But there is no ticket,” he added with frustration.

The bus authorities said that they stopped selling tickets in advance as they cannot guarantee the buses in due time.

Some of the bus services do not follow the directive to keep the next seat empty. A few of them are offering a choice to the passengers of reducing the fare if they agree to fill the seats next to them.

In front of the police outpost at the Mohakhali bus terminal, a bus helper of ‘Soukhin Paribahan’ of the Dhaka-Mymensingh route was inviting passengers to pay Tk 250 for a seat, Tk 500 for two. It means if a passenger wants to travel with his next seat empty he has to pay Tk 500. 

However, most of the passengers waiting at the terminals were seen wearing masks. The bus authorities said they are taking measures to enforce the health guidelines.

Hanif Enterprise, Bulu, a spokesperson at a counter told Bangladesh Post, “We regularly spray disinfectant liquids over our seats and inside the coach. Moreover, we ensure no one gets on the bus without mask.”

Law enforcers were continuously announcing the health guidelines in the loudspeakers to make the people aware.

The water transports are also supposed to carry passengers half of the capacity. But this direction was hardly followed. 

At Sadarghat launch terminal, there was a huge crowd on Saturday. Platforms, launch decks were abounds in people. The launches were leaving terminal with extra passengers. People got on the launch in a huddle ignoring the health guidelines.

However, the passengers said that the authorities concerned had less monitoring about the number of passengers and excessive fare.

At Kamalapur railway station, the pressure of homebound people also increased. The train schedule was right. Railway authorities said that the train was leaving in compliance with all directives set by the government.

Many passengers are happy to be able to buy tickets online without the hassle of standing in lines for hours. However, some people have expressed anxiety over returning to the capital safely.