Large number of commuters from Rangpur city and its surrounding areas, who used the double decker buses of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC), are in trouble as the service of the state-owned company has been suspended since Monday due to objections from local transport workers.
No BRTC buses plied the streets of Rangpur in the last two days.
Nurul Haq, manager of BRTC depot in Rangpur, said the depot has eight double deckers in Rangpur, which run on different routes including Paglapir-Pirganj and Paglapir-Kaunia. Hundreds of people take these routes by the buses.
The eight buses were kept parked at Central Bus Terminal in Rangpur, this correspondent found yesterday.
According to staffers of BRTC, members of Transport Workers’ Union in Rangpur obstructed the BRTC buses at the terminal on Sunday afternoon. They also allegedly assaulted the driver and helper of one of the buses.
Transport workers said their income has decreased since double-decker BRTC buses started running in Rangpur. The depot manager said that they would not operate the double tier buses until the dispute is solved.
Speaker of the parliament Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, also the lawmaker of Rangpur-6, inaugurated the service in May last year with an aim to ease commuters’ suffering and fulfil the increasing demand for public transport. But the operation of these buses has been quite chaotic, as workers of private bus companies repeatedly tried to obstruct operation of the BRTC double-deckers at various places in the district.
AKM Azizul Islam Razu, member secretary of Bus Owners Association in Rangpur, said the workers are objecting to the buses plying outside Rangpur City Corporation, as this is affecting their income.
Tajul Islam, a resident of Rangpur, said the fare of BRTC buses is fixed and the buses are comfortable. He commutes to Pirganj every day for job. “The workers of private bus operators often locked in altercation with passengers over fares, which made me switch to BRTC buses. Besides, the double-deckers have designated seats for persons with disabilities, freedom fighters, and elderly citizens, but there is no such courtesy in private buses,” he said.