Swapan Khandokar, a passenger of a BRTC bus plying on Khulna-Barishal route on Tuesday, got on the bus in dry clothes, but by the time he reached his destination, he was drenched. The roof of the dilapidated bus constantly leaked water from the pouring rain outside, to the point where some passengers were forced to open their umbrellas inside the vehicle.
Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) is plying old and unfit passenger buses on the route, many regular passengers alleged.
Swapan filed a complaint on Wednesday afternoon to the deputy commissioner against BRTC authorities, seeking a solution to the sufferings of passengers.
“After boarding on the bus (Dhaka Metro-11-9785) on Tuesday afternoon from Khulna, I found that seats of the bus were damaged and drenched. By the time the bus reached Barishal at 10pm, most of the passengers were soaked,” he told The Daily Star. “Some passengers even opened their umbrellas inside the bus to keep themselves dry.”
“I went to file a complaint to the deputy director of the consumer rights directorate, but he provided no assistance,” Swapan added.
Another passenger Kamrul Ahsan said, “We had no choice but to board the BRTC bus, as there was no alternative at that time on this route. Only a few private bus services operate on the route.”
Alomgir, a support staff of a BRTC bus of the route, said a number of BRTC buses on this route were unfit and in damaged condition.
Contacted, Khandokar Anwar Hossain, deputy director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, suggested that Swapan contact the Khulna office of the directorate, as he purchased ticket and boarded from there.
Devasish Bishwas, assistant director in Barishal of regulatory body Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), said since BRTC is a state-owned organisation, they only check fitness of the vehicles when asked by the concerned authorities.
Almas Kabir, deputy general manager of BRTC, said that there is no scope for unfit vehicles to ply the highway.
He however said he did not know the number of buses plying the Khulna-Barishal route or their conditions, and said the depot manager would have the details.
Jamil Hossain, manager of BRTC Barishal depot, could not be reached for comments even after repeated attempts.