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People use alternative transports for Eid journey

Published : 08 May 2021 09:52 PM | Updated : 09 May 2021 01:06 AM

People in large numbers continue the Eid homebound journeys using alternative modes of transportation, and at higher costs.

Though the government has lifted the ban on the movement of local transportation, it has not allowed inter-district passenger transports to ply.

It has also urged people to stay at their respective workplaces and districts during the Eid holidays to curb the surge of Coronavirus transmission. 

However, people continue to move towards their village homes using alternative vehicles like trucks, pickup vans, private cars and microbuses at several times higher fares as they have no other choice for the closure of long-distance passenger buses, trains and boats.

Concerned bodies in charge of the highways said that except for some wearing masks, the homebound people are returning home without following health protocols to celebrate Eid with their families. They claim that both the sufferings and the risks are escalating as inter-district transport is on a halt.

The Gabtoli bus stand in the capital used to be very crowded in the week before Eid, but since the outbreak of the epidemic, the face of Gabtoli has changed. This time, too, there is no exception. However, after crossing the Amin Bazar Bridge, a different picture emerges. Hundreds of people seem negotiating and getting on private cars, microbuses and motorcycles which are easily found available there.

Due to the activities of the administration, the passengers of South-West Bengal have to walk from Gabtoli to Aminbazar and catch the alternative vehicles to the launch or ferry terminal.

Earlier, the bus fare from Gabtoli to Paturia Ghat was Tk 120 to 150 per person. And now, private cars and microbuses are being rented at Tk 400 to 500 per head. Many have rented open roof pickups which may leave them open to the risk of fatal accidents as well.

Md Jahir, a commuter to Faridpur said, "I am leaving for home to celebrate Eid. The lockdown is extended in several phases, one after another, day by day. At present, I do not have a job."

"There is no long-distance transport, so I will take a microbus from here to Paturia Ghat. Then I will cross the river and go home in a car from that side," he added.

Meanwhile, the rent-a-car companies are doing business with the opportunity of the stop to inter-district public transport. Ordinary people are helpless, and have to go home in private cars and microbuses by spending several times more than the bus fare.

Earlier, the fare for a non-AC bus ticket from Dhaka to Chattogram was Tk 500-600. At present, if someone has to rent a private car on the same road, he has to pay several thousand taka. If there are three people in a private car except the driver, the rent per head is three thousand.

Apart from Chattogram, private car fares on Dhaka-Bogura route are now Tk 7,000 to 8,000, 10-seater microbuses on Dhaka-Chuadanga are Tk 16,000, Dhaka-Natore on Hiace car is Tk 14,000 and private car on Dhaka-Mymensingh route is Tk 5,000. This fare is one way only.

Hasan Shahriar was going to Bogura with a few others by renting a private car. He said, "I work in a private company. I am one of the few people who have been given leave to go home by the office. Since I have got a chance, I am going home to celebrate Eid with my family even if I have to pay multiple times the real fare."