Passengers are suffering immensely due to the sudden strike, and also paying hiked up fares to vans, rickshaws, three-wheelers, and other vehicles to reach their destinations
The indefinite strike called by the bus drivers in Hili, demanding reform of the newly enacted Road Transportation Act 2018, entered the second day on Sunday as a majority of buses continued to stay off the roads in the district, causing inconvenience to commuters.
Passengers are suffering immensely due to the sudden strike, and also paying hiked up fares to vans, rickshaws, three-wheelers, and other vehicles to reach their destinations.
However, buses are moving as usual on the Hili-Dinajpur, Hili-Joypurhat, Hili-Dhaka routes. Also, goods laden trucks are moving normally in all the routes.
Driver Ratan Kumar said: “It has become impossible for us to drive according to the new laws because we drivers never intentionally seek out collisions. Old men are often unmindful while crossing the road; people even cross the road while speaking on the phone.”
He added: “However, the new law states that no matter whose fault it is, the bus drivers are to pay minimum Tk500,000 as compensation to the injured, and face the death penalty for any fatality. We do not have that much money, nor do we want to face imprisonment for driving a bus.”
He complained that: “The vans and CNG driven auto rickshaws drive recklessly.They abruptly change lanes on the highways, which leads to accidents. Whatever the case may be, it is us drivers who will have to face the consequences. This is why we have halted the bus service, for the second day, to demand the reformation of the new law.”
A driver wishing to remain anonymous said: “This isn’t a strike; most of the buses moving on the Hili-Bagura route do not have proper papers, and that is why the bus owners have halted the bus services in fear of the new law.”
Ataur Rahman Milan, the general secretary of Hakimpur upazila committee of Dinajpur motor transport workers union, confirmed the strike’s continuation for the second day. However, he denied any involvement, saying: “This strike was not organized by any organization; the drivers rather stopped working on their own.”
They suspended their services on Saturday after parking their vehicles at the Hili bus terminal.