Padma Bridge: Transport owners eye massive boost to business

Transport owners of Shariatpur have already invested around Tk300 crore to launch new bus services

Transport owners of Shariatpur, one of the two districts connected by the Padma Bridge, have expressed their expectation that massive changes will take place in the transport sector of the district after the inauguration of the bridge on June 25.

After the opening of the bridge, direct road communication will be introduced between Shariatpur and Dhaka. To take advantage of the direct road communication system, transport owners of the district have already invested around Tk300 crore to launch new buses over the Padma Bridge from the very first day of vehicular movement on the bridge.

In a recent visit to the Shariatpur municipality bus terminal, this correspondent found that construction works for new buses are underway at the terminal in full swing. Volvo, Ashok Leyland and Tata car chassis are being installed in the bus bodies. Besides Shariatpur, bus bodies are being constructed in Dhaka and Savar.

However, local passengers are sceptical about the standard of the locally made buses. They said buses plying on the regional routes in the district are below standard and some are even unfit for movement.

They urged the authorities concerned to introduce a standard transportation system on the Dhaka-Shariatpur route. 

According to the district bus owners’ association, some private companies have taken the initiative to run direct buses on Shariatpur-Dhaka and Shariatpur-Narayanganj routes. The companies are Shariatpur Super Service, Shariatpur Padma Travels, Shariatpur Paribahan and Glory Paribahan.

Every company is planning to introduce new buses on the routes. Out of these companies, Shariatpur Padma Travels and Shariatpur Paribahan operate on the Dhaka-Mawa route. All companies have been preparing 300 buses primarily for plying over the Padma Bridge. The construction cost of each bus is around Tk80-90 lakh. For this, transport owners have invested around Tk300 crore.  

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Faruk Ahmed Talukder, president of the district bus owners’ association, said: “We hope we can launch the direct bus service from Shariatpur to Dhaka from the inauguration day of the Padma Bridge. Some transport companies have already started their preparations to run the buses. Only those who have route permits on the Dhaka-Shariatpur route can operate buses on the route.”

Shariatpur Padma Travels Chairman and Naria Municipality Mayor Abul Kalam Azad said: “We have been operating a few buses from Dhaka to Mawa on a trial basis. I hope that the direct bus service from Shariatpur to Dhaka will be launched on June 25.”   

Expressing firm commitment to ensuring the highest service to the passengers, Ershaduzzaman, director of Shariatpur Paribahan, said they have AC and non-AC bus services for the Shariatpur-Dhaka route. 

Shariatpur Super Service Director Khaleque Palwan said: “Owners of the Shariatpur transport sector have economically suffered in the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope after the opening of the Padma Bridge, economic activities will be boosted in the region. That is why we reinvested in the sector, eyeing a good result.”     

Abbas Kotwal, a resident of Shariatpur, said their long-cherished dream will become reality, and that they will not have to suffer on the river route.  

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will officially open the Padma Bridge on June 25.