Many homegoers chose to leave the capital using their services
Vehicle rental services in the country have seen a 50% spike in demand as the government halted long-distance public transports ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, primarily to contain the surge of Covid-19 infection cases.
Talking to some car rental services on Monday, it was found that many homegoers chose to leave the capital using their services.
Md Sharif Ahmed, manager of Seven Rent-A-Car in Uttara area said that despite the government discouraging people from moving out of their locations and visiting their family, several have booked cars, especially microbuses, to go outside of Dhaka.
"Our business increased by 40-50%. We charge depending on the seat numbers and distance. For example, a 4-seater sedan from Dhaka to Comilla would cost Tk5,000-6,000", he added.
Tarek Mahmud, a sales executive of Budget Car Rental services, said: “Like other years, the demand for rental cars is almost similar. But compared to the last few months, our business has increased 40-45%. As long-haul buses are inactive, people who can afford Tk6,000-10,000 fares prefer our services.”
"Sometimes people are hiring cars and microbuses in groups. This spike in booking just may help us recover our losses, which we incurred due to the near-month long lockdown, before Eid," he added.
A passenger, Shahidul Haque from Azimpur, said: “Before Eid, we travel to our home by car. This year the rental cost hiked due to high demand. We will travel to Bogra with a Hiace 8-seater for Tk12,000."
"Usually, Dhaka to Hajiganj in Chandpur usually cost Tk8,000 in a sedan. But now the rental providers are charging Tk12,000-13,000 just before Eid. The government needs to monitor and regulate the rental charges," said Majnu Sheikh, another passenger.
However, a driver of the microbus, requesting anonymity, said that they are paying a commission of Tk1,000-1,500 per vehicle to the transport owners and the police so that no one stops their vehicles while driving.
That is why the charges have shot up, to cover those hidden costs, he added.
There are nearly 18,000-20,000 rental car drivers engaged around the capital, with 200-250 car rental and private rental service providers, according to Rent-A-Car Owners Association Bangladesh.
Michael Sikder, its coordinator, told Dhaka Tribune that all their registered vehicles are booked up to May 16, while business has jumped more than 50%.
But he attributed the high charges to additional health safety and precautions amid the pandemic.