Barguna-Dhaka Route: Launch service suspended due to passenger crisis
Launch movement on the Barguna-Dhaka route has been halted due to an extreme shortage of passengers, as a result of the Padma Bridge. Due to the dwindling number of passengers, no launches have left for Dhaka from the Barguna Launch Ghat since Tuesday evening.
Zahirul Haque Panu, vice president of Barguna Traders Association, said if this route is permanently closed, Barguna's businesses will be threatened. The cost of transporting goods will increase, impacting both traders and consumers.
Before the Padma Bridge was inaugurated, every launch on the route would carry 400 to 500 passengers each day, said launch owners. However, not even 100 passengers are available since the bridge opened. There were previously four luxury passenger launches on the Dhaka-Barguna route. Following the opening of the Padma Bridge, only one launch remained on the route.
Passengers said that while the journey by launch is comfortable, it takes more time, so they prefer a journey by bus now. However, for the middle-class, launch was an affordable way to get to Dhaka.
Md Bayajid, a regular launch passenger said he is disappointed by the closure of Barguna-Dhaka route. During various festivals, bus owners charge double the fare for people returning home, while the launch is more affordable.
Masum Khan, the owner of MK Shipping Lines Company, said, "We have stopped the launch movement on Barguna- Dhaka route for now. We are losing 1.5 to 2 lakh taka on every trip. Last month there was a loss of 38 lakh taka. If fuel prices falls, we expect to start the launch movement again."