Commuters in Dhaka are facing difficulties as transport owners suspended bus services in response to student protests demanding safe roads.
Only buses from the state-run BRTC agency were operating in the capital on Saturday morning.
Many commuters are paying double or triple fares on autorickshaws as drivers take advantage of the situation. But even then many commuters have been unable to find transport as demand outstrips the number of autorickshaws, reports bdnews24.
Students took to the streets on Jul 29 after a bus accident on Dhaka’s Airport Road left two college students dead. Transport owners and workers began an unplanned strike on Thursday after the government stated that it would accept the protesters’ demands and urged them to return home.
Transport owners say that bus drivers are unwilling to work due to safety concerns amid reports of vehicle vandalism. Transport workers say that owners have halted services to avoid damages.
Bus services will resume once the situation returns to normal, said Bangladesh Bus Owners Association President Enayet Ullah Khan.
Many private sector workers seemed to be stranded at various Dhaka locations on Saturday morning as they waited for buses. The few BRTC double-decker buses in operation are unable to take on the number of commuters waiting for a ride.
One commuter said that they had to pay double the usual fare for an autorickshaw from Shyamoli to Mohakhali after failing to find a bus.
No buses were operating on the routes from Azimpur to Mirpur, Kuril or Abdullahpur, or in the opposite direction.
Some of the roads used by private buses in the Mirpur area have also been closed due to construction. No buses are operating from Pallabi to Gulshan.
None are operating on the routes from Uttara to Banani, Rampura or Mirpur, or in the opposite direction.
CNG autorickshaws are charging Tk 100 per person to take passengers from Rampura Bridge to the airport.
Some commuters are hitching rides on freight pickup trucks, paying Tk 30 per person for rides from Rampura to Notun Bazar.
One commuter, Md Sayim, told bdnews24 that he had travelled from the Rampura Bridge area towards North Badda.
“We can accept a bit of hardship for the protests conducted by the students.”
“It is wrong for the bus owners to shut down traffic in this way. They should express their solidarity with the student protests, acknowledge their mistakes and restore regular services.”
Many commuters were standing on the road in Gabtali, Jatrabari and Mohakhali waiting for buses.