Bus and launch terminals and railway stations in the capital witnessed high number of incoming passengers yesterday as most offices and business open today after an extended Eid holiday.
Many had to wait hours at the stations and terminals for transport home while some complained about being charged exorbitantly by rickshaw pullers, autorickshaw drivers, and bus and launch operators.
Overcrowded launches were seen plying the rivers yesterday.
Although no long tailbacks were seen on the highways or near ferry terminals, traffic was slow.
The last working day before Eid was on August 8. A two-day weekend began on August 9 and the official three-day Eid holidays on the 11th. August 14 was the only working day before the National Mourning Day and another weekend, which ended yesterday.
Some office goers took leave on August 14 (Wednesday) and made a nine-day holiday.
At Shimulia Ferry Terminal in Munshiganj, thousands of people from the southern districts were seen crossing the Padma on ferries, launches, and boats.
Most of the launches on Shimulia-Kawrakandi route were seen overcrowded and the operators were charging passengers more than usual.
“The government-set launch fare is Tk 33. But they are charging us Tk 50,” said Habibur Rahman, who came from Faridpur.
After crossing the river, people had to wait a long time to get on buses to Dhaka and the bus operators also were charging more than usual, alleged passengers.
“I had to wait for around an hour to get on the bus. They are charging each passenger over Tk 100 when the actual fare is Tk 70,” said Solaiman Miah, who was traveling to Dhaka from Satkhira yesterday.
Munshiganj’s Mawa Zonal Traffic Inspector Helal Uddin claimed that they kept watch to prevent overcharging.
Soumitra Ghosh, who was traveling to Dhaka from Rajbari via the Paturia Ferry Terminal in Manikganj, said, “Bus operators demanded Tk 300 for a trip to Dhaka from Paturia Ferry Terminal. The usual fare is Tk 120. When I refused to pay the extra money, they forced me off the bus.”
Even, state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) buses were also overcharging, alleged passengers.
“I got on a BRTC bus from Paturia and was heading towards Savar. The normal fare is Tk 80. But they charged me Tk 200,” said Akhtar Hossain, who also came from Rajbari.
Manikganj Deputy Commissioner SM Ferdous also claimed that they kept watch to prevent overcharging.
At Tangail New Bus Terminal, over 150 passengers were seen waiting in front of a bus counter around 11:00am.
“I have been waiting for around three hours but no bus is available,” Nizamuddin told The Daily Star correspondent around 11:00am.
Tangail’s Traffic Inspector Raifqul Islam said there were no tailbacks on the Dhaka-Tangail highway but traffic was very heavy and slow.
At Barishal Launch Terminal yesterday evening, every vessel was packed as a huge number of passengers poured into the terminal to board launches for Dhaka.
Azmal Huda Mithu, deputy director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) of Barishal River Port, claimed that over one lakh people left for Dhaka on launches yesterday.
“I have been trying to get a ticket for two hours. If I fail to get one, I will have to come back to the terminal tomorrow,” Bashudeve Mazumder, a resident of Barishal city, said around 7:00pm yesterday.
The Patuakhali Launch Terminal was crowded. Eight launches left for Dhaka yesterday; all overcrowded.
A gang was occupying space on the launch decks with bed sheets and then selling the space to passengers.
“After reaching the terminal, I found the launch was filled with passengers. Seeing me upset, a few people came to me and offered me space for money. I paid them Tk 200 and got a small space which they had kept occupied,” said Abul Hossain, a resident of Nilganj under Kalapara upazila in Patuakhali.
At Kamalapur Railway Station, all incoming trains were full.
“Despite the crowd, I prefer trains because there is no traffic jam to worry about,” said Zakir Hossain who arrived from Sirajganj yesterday.