The Jahangirnagar University unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) on Friday blocked the Dhaka-Aricha highway, protesting the anarchy unleashed by BNP in the capital's Nayapaltan on Wednesday. It caused immense sufferings to the people who attempted to reach or leave the capital city. The BCL action came ahead of the BNP's Dhaka rally on Saturday, The BCL brought out a procession at 4:00pm and blocked the highway for about one hour. Akhteruzzaman Sohel, president of JU BCL unit said, "We are in the street to protest against the attack on law enforcement agencies by BNP leaders and activists at Nayapaltan". Read more: BNP set to hold rally in Dhaka to start simultaneous anti-govt movement "However, we are keeping an eye on the smooth journey of emergency vehicles including ambulances", he added. Mohammad Roni Hossain, assistant proctor of Jahangirnagar University, said the JU BCL unit took to the street to protest against the BNP's ongoing terrorism and anarchy. But emergency services remained normal despite the blockade, he said.
The presence of public transport was relatively thin in Dhaka on Thursday amid tension and fear of violence following Wednesday’s clash between police and BNP men, causing suffering to commuters. Commuters were seen waiting on roads for long due to lack of public transport. Md Asharf, operation manager of private transport agency ‘Alif Paribahan’, told UNB that though some 250 buses of the agency usually ply different roads in the city every day, the number was 130-135 buses since today’s morning. Read more: Traffic movement halted in front of BNP’s Nayapaltan office The number of passengers and general people on the roads was also thin compared to the normal days, he said adding that general people are not coming out of their houses unless they have any emergency work. The number of passengers was low since morning, he said. Md Hiron, a lineman of ‘Raich Paribahan’, said they have been operating 20-25 out of 40 buses on different routes as most of buses are running with a low number of passengers. Abu Saleh Md Raihan, joint commissioner of traffic (north), said there was no traffic congestion in parts of the city today. “The number of public transports on the roads is low compared to any other day,” he said.
Commuters who need to go towards Mohakhali using Airport road from Airport Station have been asked to avoid the road from 8:00 pm on Thursday to 12:00 am on Saturday night for ongoing road development work of the BRT project. BRT has issued the special traffic guidelines in this regard due to its ongoing road development works of the BRT project aimed at permanently smoothing the traffic flow. A notification signed by A.S.M. Elias Shah, project director of the BRT, said that the road development work will continue in two lanes out of four lanes towards Mohakhali from in front of the Airport railway station. Read more: Traffic alert: Outbound passengers urged to start early for Dhaka airport It said there is possibility of creating severe traffic jam on the road during the work. People have been requested not to use the road section except for essential travel during the time mentioned in the notification. Everyone's sympathy and cooperation has also been sought in this regard. Bus rapid transit is an improved modern bus transit system providing rapid, affordable and comfortable commuting, which operates in dedicated lanes to provide better passenger services. Read more: UN expert urges Bangladesh to step up efforts to prevent trafficking
Commuters are bearing the brunt of the indefinite strike enforced by transport owners in all eight districts of Rajshahi division – to press home their 10-point demand – ahead of BNP’s December 3 rally in Rajshahi city. Movement of all types of vehicles, except private cars and microbuses, remains halted in the city since this morning – causing immense sufferings to the commuters. Though only a BRTC bus left the Rajshahi Bus Terminal, other bus counters were found closed. Ashraful Islam, who was waiting for transport in the city’s Talaymari intersection, told the UNB correspondent that he will have to pay extra fare to go to Bogura through Natore. “Commuters like me are the worst sufferers due to the strike,” he observed. Matiur Hoque Titu, general secretary of Rajshahi Road Transport Group, said no bus left from Rajshahi and entered from other parts of the country as the strike is on. Read more: Transport strike in Rajshahi ahead of Saturday’s BNP rally In Natore, presence of all types of public transport is very thin, while commuters were seen standing by the road. Some commuters were seen rushing to their destinations, taking CNG-run autorickshaws. Rajshahi Divisional Transport Owners’ Association has enforced the strike since this morning, following a decision taken from a joint meeting at the office of Rajshahi Road Transport Group on Wednesday. They claimed that the strike has no link with BNP’s rally, as they gave an ultimatum to meet their demands earlier. On November 26, the Divisional Transport Owners and Workers Solidarity Council gave an ultimatum to the authorities concerned to meet their 10-point demand by November 30. They called the strike for various demands including scrapping the Road Transport Act 2018 and banning movement of illegal three-wheelers and battery-run autorickshaws on highways by November 30. On the other hand, leaders and activists of BNP have started gathering at the rally venue, Madrasa Field, after law enforcers gave permission for the rally on eight conditions on Wednesday. Ruhul Quddus Dulu, an organising secretary of the BNP and coordinator of the rally organising committee, said the party activists will stay at the rally venue from today and return home after making it a success. BNP on September 27 announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional and major cities. The party began the rallies by holding the first one in Chattogram on October 12. Read more: Water transport workers withdraw indefinite strike Transport owners and workers called strikes ahead of all the rallies in various cities, except in Chattogram and Cumilla. BNP will end its divisional rallies through a mass gathering in Dhaka city on December 10.
A two-day bus strike enforced by Sunamganj District Transport Owners and Workers’ Association began on Friday morning, causing suffering of the commuters. As the strike was enfoced ahead of BNP's divisional rally slated for Saturday, the party leaders alleged that the strike was called as per the government's directive to thwart their political programme. The association leaders said they are observing the strike to realise their four-point demand, which includes withdrawal of tolls on Lamakazi bridge on the Sunamganj-Sylhet road, banning batter-run three-wheelers and unlicensed CNG-run autorickshaws from the highways, banning BRTC buses and renovation and modernization of Sunamganj Bus Terminal. Read more: Commuters hit as 2-day bus strike begins in Khulna BNP’s Sylhet divisional rally, slated at the Government Alia Madrasa field in the city, has been plagued with transport strikes called by several organisations. Habiganj Motor Owners’ group on Thursday called for an indefinite strike on movement of buses, demanding an end to “administrative harassment” and halting illegal three-wheelers. On the other hand, Sylhet district Workers’ Solidarity Council called a 12-hour strike from 6:00am to 6:00pm on Saturday on movement of all types of vehicles to press home their four-point demands. Besides, Sylhet district Road Transport Owners’ Association also called a dawn to dusk strike on Saturday in Sylhet on their two-point demand including for not issuing any new license for CNG-run auto rickshaw. Read more: Day 2 of Khulna strike: Commuters suffer as bus & launch services suspended ahead of BNP rally Fazlur Rahman, president of Habiganj Motor Owners’ group, at a press conference at Habiganj municipality bus terminal on Thursday claimed that there was no link between their strike and the BNP rally.
Commuters are facing immense suffering as most of the buses remained off the roads in different parts of the country including the capital on Saturday after the fuel price hike in the country last night. The commuters were seen waiting for long at the bus stoppages and those who managed to ride on a bus were being charged additional fares by the bus staff, they alleged. In Khulna, most of the passengers of the long route were seen returning from Sonadanga Bus Stand as staff of the buses were taking extra fares from the passengers. The amount of the additional fare is too much from the original fare. Also read: Fuel price hike: Passengers suffer as buses go off roads in capital Transport owners of the district are plying limited buses intentionally to take extra fares from the passengers taking the advantage of the fuel price hike, alleged some passengers at the bus stand. Ripa Begum, at the Sonadanga Bus Stand, said she doesn't know about the price hike of fuel by the government. She became surprised as a bus driver was collecting Tk 250 instead of the existing Tk 180 on the Jhenaidah-Khulna route. Sundarbans Paribahan Lineman Sujit said they are charging extra fares from last night after the announcement of the government. Golam Samdani Sakib, general manager of Tungipara Express said they are taking additional Tk 100 from each of the passengers on AC and non-AC buses. Some passengers alleged that the decision of fuel price hike by the government during this Corona pandemic is unethical. In Dinajpur, the fare of CNG-run coaches has been increased on Saturday. However, bus fares on the internal route remained unchanged. People thronged the petrol pumps in the district last night before 12am to get fuel for the vehicles at the earlier price. But some fuel stations in Nababganj and Chirirbandar upazila refused to sell petrol and octane at the old price. However, they were bound to sell at the old price to avert unwanted incidents as motorcyclists barricaded the road. Also read: Consumer slapped with largest ever hikes in fuel oil prices Dinajpur Road Transport Owners’ general secretary Shahed Chowdhury said they will increase bus fares after the decision of BRTA and the district transport committee. In Rangamati, Rangamati-Chattagram Bus Owners Association has stopped vehicular movement on all routes including Rangamati-Chattagram Highway protesting the fuel price hike by the government. Meanwhile, some CNG-run mass transports are plying in the district and charging extra fares to the passengers. Many people and students reached their destination on foot. Mizanur Rahman Babu, general secretary of Rangamati District Auto rickshaw Workers Union, said all long routes buses will not move till the further decision of the government about transport fares. In Bagerhat, people were waiting in long queues at the fuel stations since last night. Fuel filling station authorities said additional fuels have been sold following the government announcement of the fuel price hike. As a result, a temporary fuel crisis might occur at the fuel stations. The government hiked the price of fuel oil by a big margin, said a media release from the power, energy and mineral resources ministry on Friday. According to the release, diesel price has been increased by Tk 34 to Tk 114 per litre while octane price hiked by Tk 46 to Tk 135 and petrol by Tk 44 to Tk 130. The new price has been executed from Friday midnight. Earlier, in November last year, the government increased the price of diesel and kerosene by Tk 15 to Tk 80 per litre. As a result, the bus fare was disproportionately increased by around 27 per cent and the launch fare by 35 per cent.
City dwellers on Saturday faced a serious transport crisis for the lack of local buses, as most were converted to inter-district services carrying homebound people ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. The number of local buses plying the city streets was very thin since the morning, leaving many commuters to suffer long waits for transportation and forcing many of them to reach their destination on foot. Especially, the office goers were the worst victim to join their office and return home since the banks and some private offices remained open on Saturday. Taking the advantage of the sudden transport shortage in the city, passengers alleged that the bus operators, rickshaw pullers and the CNG auto-rickshaw drivers were charging excessive fares. A leader of the Dhaka Road Transport Owners' Association said the number of buses was decreased in the capital as maximum city buses started carrying home-bound people, especially the garments workers towards northern and other districts from Thursday night. Also read: 15km tailback on west of Bangabandhu Bridge amid Eid rush “Many of the buses that run in Dhaka went to the different districts carrying the homebound people to make some ‘extra trips,'" he said. The city dwellers who were waiting to travel the city smoothly in absence of traffic gridlock on the occasion of eid as in the past have got frustrated due to the shortage of transport. “Usually, the city becomes commuter-friendly with fewer traffic jams a couple of days before eid amid the mass exodus of holidaymakers. But I have become disappointed as I have to wait 40 minutes to catch a bus for coming to Mouchak from Badda area,” Shafiqul Islam, a private job holder, told UNB. Abdus Salam, an official of a private bank, living in the Basabo area, went to his bank branch office in Gulshan-2 by a rickshaw due to the shortage of bus services in the city. “After waiting for around 35 minutes to get a bus, I hired a rickshaw with exorbitant fare to go to the office in Gulshan-2. Reaching the office, I saw an overloaded bus was coming from my area.” Anis Ahmed, who works for an NGO, waited for an hour at Mirpur-11 bus stand to catch a Motijheel bound bus at around 3:30 pm. Later, he rented a CNG-run auto-rickshaw to reach his destination. "The CNG driver charged an excessive fare, but I had to hire it having failed to get a bus of 'Bikolpa Auto Paribahan.” Omar Sharif, an official of a private company, said that he failed to get a bus at the Mohakhali bus stand after waiting for 30 minutes to come to Moghbazar. “Finally, I had to reach my destination on foot.” "Not only me, but also many other city dwellers went through serious sufferings due to transport crisis. It took more than two hours for one of my friends to come to Gulshan by riding a rickshaw and then bus from the Airport area though there was no notable tailback on the road.” Also read: Barishal ferry terminal brim with Eid rush Ashrafuzzaman, an official of Alif Paribahan, said they usually operate 250 buses in the city and its outskirt. “But two-third of our total buses left the city on Friday for different districts, especially for the northern region, carrying garments workers. These buses will return when those people return to Dhaka after enjoying the Eid vacation.” Similarly, buses of many other transport operators have also been carrying long-route passengers to meet the huge transport demand of home-bound people. “That’s why, the commuters in the capital are facing an adequate transport crisis,” he said. The Eid vacation will begin on May one (Sunday) but most of the holidaymakers have already left the city. Homebound journeys are comparatively smooth this year than the recent years.
Bus services on all the routes in Rajshahi district remained suspended for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, causing immense sufferings to the commuters.
Commuters on Tuesday staged demonstrations at Joydebpur rail station in Gazipur for an hour to press home their 10-point demand, halting train communications of the district with the northern region.