People are leaving Dhaka to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones in their home districts, but the holidaymakers have been suffering schedule disruptions for a number of trains, particularly those operating on northern routes
City dwellers started leaving Dhaka city for their village homes on Friday, with many trains from the capital behind schedule, and most buses leaving Dhaka on time.
People are leaving Dhaka to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones in their home districts, but the holidaymakers have been suffering schedule disruptions for a number of trains, particularly those operating on northern routes.
To start their journey home, hundreds of people gathered at Kamalapur Railway Station and Airport Railway Station early in the morning, but had to wait for hours as most of the trains were painfully delayed.
About three million people leave Dhaka by road to celebrate Eid in their home districts every year, straining public transport during the holidays.
Rail minister apologizes
During his visit to Kamalapur Railway Station, Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan apologized to holidaymakers for the delays of four trains on the first day of the last weekend before Eid.
He said: “A total of 18 trains have left Dhaka since 10am, but schedules of four trains were disrupted. I sincerely apologize for this unwanted delay, and it will not happen from tomorrow."
According to Kamalapur Railway Station authorities, the Rangpur Express left the station seven hours behind schedule, while the Rajshahi-bound Dhumketu Express was delayed by over two hours, Khulna-bound Sundarban Express by over an hour, and the Nilphamari-bound Nilsagar Express was delayed by about an hour and a half.
The minister said: “Around 20 million people live and work in Dhaka, and leave the capital to celebrate Eid with their loved ones in their village homes. We are trying to provide quality service under the circumstances."
New bridges cut down tailbacks and accidents
While train passengers are suffering extreme delays and stress due to schedule breakdowns, bus passengers are expected to reach their homes without any hassle this year, as they are not likely face severe traffic jams as in the past.
Bus owners and private bus operator services said buses reached their destinations on time without facing any traffic jams on Friday, and some even had a few empty seats, an exceptional rarity.
Some bus owners also said they have enough buses to ensure holidaymakers reach their desired destinations smoothly.
According to Ramesh Chandra Ghosh, proprietor of Shyamoli Paribahan, road accidents could be halved as most Dhaka residents started leaving the city early for the long holidays, making for safer journeys on less crowded roads.
“Bus drivers will feel less anxious driving, as there is no rush on the roads due to fewer passengers. Also, passengers will not face much traffic due to the recently inaugurated bridges on the Meghna and Gumti rivers, and the Chandra Flyover,” he added.
Ramesh also said: “Around 200 buses will be running to take people home for Eid, safe and sound.”
He said this year will see no breakdown in bus schedules. He also noted that several buses left Dhaka with empty seats and many seats remained yet unsold.
Faruk Talukder Shohel, managing Director of Shohagh Paribahan, said bus journeys this Eid will be smoother than ever before.
He said: “There is no rush on the road. This year, we will see fewer traffic jams than previous years, and there will be fewer road accidents.”
Shohel said some Shohagh Paribahan buses from Dhaka reached Chittagong within five to six hours.
He said: “In previous years, we saw that passengers had to wait for buses, but this year buses are waiting for passengers.”
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader echoed the sentiments, saying there are no traffic jams on the roads and people’s journeys this Eid, will be smoother than ever before.
“There are no traffic jams. The journey this holiday will be relaxing,” said Obaidul, also Awami League general secretary.
Obaidul made the remarks during his visit to Dhaka's Gabtoli bus terminal to inspect the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority’s mobile court on Friday morning.
He also said his ministry is monitoring ferry ports so people can easily cross the Padma River without being harassed on account of fares.
The minister said: “There has been no news of extra fares being charged, or extortion of any kind. Mobile courts and law enforcement agencies are always alert to prevent these things.”
The minister asked drivers to drive carefully. He urged bus company owners to appoint skilled drivers and provide them free counseling to tackle tough situations on their trips.
BRTA Chairman Moshiur Rahman said they have appointed 300 volunteers on Airport Road to prevent traffic jams.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said as many as 1,100 BRTC buses have been readied, specially for Eid.
Apart from the BRTC buses, another 50 buses will be kept on standby for emergency use, the minister noted.