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Dhaka Tribune

More long-haul buses on roads on last day of blockade

  • Demra and Jatrabari areas are riskier
  • Urged all passengers to close their windows
Update : 28 Nov 2023, 12:49 AM

The operation of long-haul buses from Dhaka increased on the last day of the seventh phase of the blockade called by BNP and Jamaat on Monday.

Although the number of passengers remained low, inter-district buses were seen leaving the Mohakhali, Fulbaria and Sayedabad bus terminals on time.

“Since morning, eleven buses departed the terminal. Even though there are fewer passengers, the company has been instructed to maintain the bus schedules," said Shamim, counter master of Ananya Transport at the Mohakhali bus terminal. 

Ripon, the counter master of Bhairab to Kasba Kazi Paribahan, said: "From morning till evening, 25 vehicles departed with passengers. Buses leave once every 30 minutes. Although there are fewer passengers, we can not just sit idle because of the blockade."

Alamin, the counter master of Jalsiri Transport, said: "Ten buses have departed so far. During usual days, at least 40 buses leave with no empty seats. But buses are now departing with only about 10-12 passengers each. We are incurring losses but hope that continuing operations will eventually increase passenger numbers."

Utpal, the supervisor of Shah Fateh Ali Paribahan on the Naogaon-Bogra (Tangail route) at Sayedabad, said: "Buses are operating but on a limited scale. We managed to operate 20 buses so far."

Public transport inside Dhaka, however, continued unabated amidst the blockade and violence. 

The increasing number of public transport on Dhaka streets caused more traffic congestion on important roads including Gulistan, Mohakhali, Gulshan, Tejgaon, Agargaon, Farmgate, and Mirpur Road. 

Long-haul buses operate despite fear and anxiety

The seventh phase of the blockade called by BNP, Jamaat and like-minded parties to bring home BNP’s one-point demand will end at 6am on Tuesday. 

Bus operators in Dhaka’s Fulbaria bus terminal were seen preparing the buses for departure. 

"There were fewer buses in the past few days. But companies have started increasing operations since Sunday,” said ticketmaster Shahjalal Paribahan.

“We are operating buses with fear though. The companies told us to keep the buses running even when the number of passengers remains low,” he added.

However, the number of long-haul buses was lower on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway.

“The areas of Demra and Jatrabari are riskier. We have to operate on this route. We ask the passengers to close the windows when we reach these areas," said Alam, a bus driver from Tisha Enterprise Paribahan. 

The same situation was observed on buses of Bondhon Paribahan on the Dhaka-Narayanganj route.

As soon as the bus reached Jatrabari, Shahin, its conductor, requested all passengers to close the windows. 

When asked why, he explained that the arsonists cannot board the buses now due to increased vigilance. 

“There's a risk of petrol bombs being thrown inside the bus from the buildings on either side of the flyover. Closing the windows can prevent the fire from entering the bus,” he said.

On the last day of the blockade, there were processions by the BNP and like-minded parties in different parts of the country. 

Incidents of arson were also reported in different areas, including the capital’s Shyamoli.

Meanwhile, in a press conference on Monday afternoon, Senior Joint Secretary-General of BNP Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced a blockade on Wednesday and a dawn-to-dusk strike on Thursday.

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