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Dhaka Tribune

BNP blockade: Long-haul bus services suspended in fear of arson

  • Launch services remain normal
  • Public transport increases 
Update : 08 Nov 2023, 08:24 PM

All types of long-haul buses to the northern and southern regions of the country have been halted due to the third round of blockade called by the BNP and like-minded opposition parties. 

However, public transport, trains and launches were seen plying in Dhaka during the 48-hour protest, which began early Wednesday morning, blocking roads, rail and waterways. Road traffic is increasing as the day progresses. While there is limited traffic movement in the morning, traffic on roads and highways is also increasing as the day progresses.

From 8:30am, public transport, including Victor Classic, Shikor, Dishari, Thikana, and Moumita, operated in Dhanmondi, Panthapath, Karwan Bazar, Banglamotor, Kantaban, Shahbagh, Nightingale Mor, Paltan, Kakrail, Motijheel, and Arambagh areas. From 11am to 2:30pm, Ajmeri Glory and Midlai buses were observed near Kamalapur, Gulistan, Press Club, Moghbazar, Hatirjheel, Tejgaon, and Mohakhali. After 12pm, transportation activity increased on these routes.

Traffic jams occurred on multiple routes such as Banglamotor and Bijoy Sharani as public transport activity surged.

Despite the increase in public transport, long-distance services at Sayedabad, Fulbaria, and Gabtoli bus terminals in Gulistan have been halted due to passenger shortages. At around 3pm, most ticket counters at the bus terminals were closed. The counter masters and managers are passing a lazy time as there are no passengers even though some are open.

Passengers are seen napping on seats at a bus counter in Dhaka amidst bus shortages during the ongoing blockade on Wednesday, November 8, 2023. Photo: Dhaka Tribune

Chan Miah, the counter manager of SI Enterprise operating on the Dhaka-Sirajganj route, said: "I have had a single passenger all day. We require a minimum of 25-30 passengers to depart, but there are none."

Rajib Enterprise, run on the Mahmudpur-Guthail route, including Dhaka-Jamalpur, has remained closed since the October 31 blockade. On the other hand, Ekota Paribahan is now departing with passengers during the night.

Biplob Hossain, the booking master of Ekota Paribahan operating on the Dhaka-Bogra-Naogaon route, said: "We used to have buses running every half an hour during the day, but the services have stopped due to the lack of passengers. Now, we only take night bookings. If we have 5 to 10 passengers, we will depart."

Meanwhile, passengers are facing difficulties as bus services have been suspended. Saleha Akter had been waiting for two and a half hours to travel to Netrokona.

Saleha said:" The 2pm bus is now scheduled to depart at 5pm. Due to fewer passengers, the bus services are reluctant to operate. I am sitting here, and let's see when it eventually leaves. There is no other option."

Meanwhile, the Gabtoli bus terminal remains empty, with no sign of people. Most transport company counters are closed for long-distance buses, and buses only leave with 20-30 passengers, causing inconvenience to travellers. A similar situation prevails at the Saidabad terminal. At Fulbaria Bus Stands, long-distance buses are running, but departures are delayed due to passenger shortages.

In contrast, Sadarghat Launch Terminal has seen continuous activity since morning, with operations running smoothly from morning to 4pm. 

According to Alamgir Kabir, Joint Convener of Dhaka River Port, 30 launches arrived from various waterways, and 14 launches departed from Dhaka River Port between 12am and 3pm on Wednesday. Launch operations continue as usual, with heightened security measures.

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