Crowds of homebound people at the stations for train tickets. Waiting for hours for the desired ticket, but still no match. The exact opposite is the case at the Gabtoli bus counters in the capital. Not enough passengers coming. That is why every bus has to leave late. Even if the passenger is late in the hope, the hope is shattered. Being forced to leave the bus empty seat. Transport officials claim that such a passenger crisis situation has not occurred in the last 40 years before Eid.
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On Wednesday (April 26) at the Gabtali bus terminal, many people started arriving in Gabtali from the early hours of the morning, packing their belongings. Some of them are running alone, while others are running away with their family members. There is no rush to get tickets as there is no crowd of passengers. However, the passengers complained that they have to collect long distance bus tickets for more money than other times. Besides, they said that even though the extra fare was collected, the bus was not leaving at the scheduled time.
Majnu, a ticket seller for the South Bengal Express, said there were only a few days left before Eid and passengers were still not available. The bus has to be left empty. Even after leaving the bus late, 5-10 seats remain vacant.
However, advance tickets for all their buses were sold out from Thursday (April 26) to Saturday (April 30), he said.
Nilia, a student of Dhaka University, will go to Jessore to celebrate Eid with her family. He left the hall at 8:30 am and came to Gabtali. He has bought a ticket for Golden Line transport with 150 rupees more than other times.
This student said that the university is on holiday, so he is going home to celebrate Eid with his family. The bus is not leaving at the scheduled time even if the ticket is sold at a higher fare. The bus was supposed to leave at 9:30 in the morning, it was 11 o’clock. No one can say when he will leave. He is waiting next to the counter with his belongings.
Shahidul Islam, who lives in Mirpur, did not have office leave. He came to Gabtali to send his wife home. Normally the bus fare in Kushtia is 500 rupees but he had to pay 200 rupees more to get a ticket from the bus counter of Shyamoli Paribahan.
Speaking, Shahidul Islam said, “I am sending my wife home because I have not taken leave.” I will go home next Saturday. Even though I used to travel on Shyamoli transport regularly, I had to buy extra tickets due to Eid. Though the bus was scheduled to leave at 9:30 am, it did not leave at 11:30 am. He also complained that he was not told when to leave.
When asked, Surya Mia, a ticket seller at Shyamoli counter, told Jago News that there is a passenger crisis, which is why it is not possible without a bus at the scheduled time. Even if you leave late, you have to leave the seat empty. If one / two passengers are found, he is leaving the bus late in the hope.
Asked about the extra rent, he said that in normal times, the owners give more discounts than the rent fixed by the government. It seems that the extra fare is being given less during Eid. In fact, he claimed that the government was taking less than the fixed rent.
Zakir Mallick, manager of Hanif Enterprise, said that 25-30 buses were leaving every day before Eid but now 20-25 buses have to leave leaving 5-10 seats vacant. Although 5 buses left in the morning, they had to leave their seats empty in each. The last 40 years have not been in such a situation.
He said the bus was scheduled to leave at 10:30 am but 21 passengers were found in the 40-seater car. Passengers are not available even after 30 minutes delay. If there are no passengers, the bus will have to leave with this number. However, all their bus tickets for April 28-29 have been sold out in advance, he said.
He also said that there is uncertainty about getting salary bonus before Eid.
Saiful Islam is going to Madaripur to celebrate Eid with his family. As it is an office holiday, he came to Gabtali in the morning and collected tickets for extra fare. Although he did not bother to get a ticket, he did not leave the bus even after one hour of the scheduled time. Everyone is waiting at the counter.
“Everyone takes extra rent before Eid,” he said. Extra rent is collected by a kind of syndicate at the counters. The fare was high, again the bus was being delayed on the pretext of passenger crisis.