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Dhaka Tribune

New working hours lead to massive traffic gridlock

Massive traffic congestion was seen in many areas from 7am

Update : 25 Aug 2022, 02:07 PM

The new office and banking hours announced by the government to save energy led to massive traffic congestion across Dhaka on the first day on Wednesday, as the new timings conflict with schools.

Massive traffic congestion was seen in the Gulistan, Azimpur, New Market, Mirpur Road, Science Lab intersection, Dhanmondi, Jigatola, Satmasjid Road, and College Gate areas from 7am as school and officegoers left home for their destinations at the same time. The areas again became gridlocked around 3pm, when the same commuters began their return journeys.

Jamil Hossain, an accountant at a government bank in Dhaka, said: “I left home at 7am from Shanir Akhara. After finishing office, I boarded the bus at 3:30pm. Now it is 5:30pm, but I still haven't reached home.”

Mohammad Nazmul, a policeman who was on duty in Dhanmondi, said: “Compared to other days, traffic has been worse in the morning, as well as in the afternoon. Students and officegoers were all stuck on the road together.” 

Bithi Amin, a government official living in Azimpur, said: “It is very difficult for me to be at the office at 8am every day after taking care of household chores and taking children to school. Children had to face a lot of trouble on the first day, as the school time and office time is too close together and this caused a lot of traffic. I am very worried about how I will manage the rest of the days with this timing.”

She also said that it is because of the traffic jam and most of the time even after getting up early in the morning, there is no trace of gas in the stove. Sometimes by lucky get but only for a short time. 

Hafsa Islam, another government official, said she was worried that her daughter’s schooling would suffer if she continually arrived to school late due to the traffic congestion. 

“We can’t even trust school buses to make it on time,” she added.

New experience for traffic policemen

Traffic police members feel that the starting time of school and office-court is the same as one of the reasons for the long traffic jam.

Md. Nazmul; a traffic police member on duty on Dhanmondi road stated: "Compared to other days, there was more traffic from this morning. On other days, traffic jams started after 8am and 4:30pm. But today morning after 7:30am there was a traffic jam and the same situation occurred after 3:30pm in the afternoon.”

He also said: “The traffic jam is relatively high as offices and educational institutions ended together thus it is not possible to say when this traffic jam will be eased.”

New challenges for working women and their children

Working people have mixed reactions to the new schedule for various reasons, including traffic congestion. Although this is a relief to many, working women and students have reported various problems.

Dhaka Tribune spoke to several working women about their experience on the first day of the new schedule.

Bithi Amin, a government official living in Azimpur, stated: “It is very difficult for me to attend the office at 8am every morning after completing the family work and sending the children to school as children's school and office timings are closer than before.”

She further stated:“ Not only traffic jam, but there also were other issues as well like gas was not available even after getting up early in the morning. Fortunately, it was only for a short time. In this situation, after preparing breakfast and lunch, I sent the children to school, and then I went out myself. But in the current situation, when will I cook, when will I bring them to school, when will I get ready myself?”

Hafsa Islam working in a directorate said the same thing: "It will be very difficult for working women like us to adhere to this schedule."

She mentioned: "I am very worried about my daughter's school even though I am able to be done with cooking and other work. Every day I take my daughter to school and go to the office on the same route. But now I don't know what to do. In the current situation, even school buses cannot be trusted.”

The government announced a new schedule for energy-saving offices on August 22. According to the new rules, government and autonomous offices of the country will be open from 8am to 3pm and banks will be open from 9am to 4pm every day.

At the same time, all the educational institutions in the country have declared a weekend holiday on Friday and Saturday. Besides, the government has decided to suspend the production of all diesel power plants in the country and to close the fuel stations for one day every week.

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