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Commuters suffer, but extend support to students’ movement

  • Published at 02:03 am August 2nd, 2018
Despite commuters suffering as a result of protests over the death of two students in a bus accident at Airport Road on Sunday, many expressed their support for the protesters Dhaka Tribune

Most public transportations went off the streets as hours went by, leaving thousands of people stranded at bus stands and on the road-side across the city for long hours

Commuters in different parts of Dhaka struggled to reach their destinations for the fourth day after students returned to the streets on Wednesday, protesting Sunday’s death of two students and demanding safe roads.

Most public transportations went off the streets as hours went by, leaving thousands of people stranded at bus stands and on the road-side across the city for long hours.

However, despite their sufferings, many people extended their support to the students’ cause, calling it logical.

On Sunday, a Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan bus had ploughed through a group of students standing on the side of the city’s Airport Road and killed two of them on the spot.

Since then students of schools, colleges and universities had been taking to the streets, protesting against the incident and demanding immediate punishment of those responsible for the deaths. Their number grew by thousands every day, as the protests spread across the capital and several other cities.

On Wednesday, after they resumed demonstrations across Dhaka and shut down a number of major roads, it proved very difficult for people to get to their destinations like the past few days.

The number of buses on roads was fewer than normal days and those that were plying the streets allegedly charged the passengers extra fare. 

In the Mirpur area, there were insufficient buses at the stands to handle the huge crowds of office-goers in the morning. Many commuters ended up hiring pickups, CNG-run auto-rickshaws or rickshaws paying higher fares or walking to their destinations.

The biggest crowds were seen at the city’s Shyamoli, Technical intersection, Gabtoli, Mirpur, Shahbagh, Motijheel, Rampura, Mohakhali and Badda areas.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner (Shahbagh Zone) Shahed Alam said they had no idea why the number of buses were low. “Bus owners did not inform us about such situation.”

The popular ride-sharing apps too refrained from offering their services to avoid untoward incidents, leaving many users disgruntled.

Munira Khatun, who works at a clothing shop near Science Laboratory intersection, said she had to walk from Asad Gate to her workplace after failing to find any transport.

Near New Market intersection, Shammi Ahmed, mother of a 12-year-old boy, said her son’s school was closed one-and-half-hours earlier than usual. “As he didn’t return on time, I went to his school from my home at Lalbagh Kella on foot. I found him scared as he was not finding any transport,” she said.

Protesting students did not allow buses to ply most of the city streets which they had also blockaded. At some points, they let the other vehicles go after checking the drivers’ licences and vehicles’ registration papers.

In some parts of the city, they did not even let motorcycles to pass through. The students, however, allowed ambulances and smaller vehicles carrying senior citizens or patients to get to their destinations.