Expressing sorrow for the sufferings of passengers due to traffic jams, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said had the traffic management at the exit points of the capital been better the holidaymakers would have suffered less.
“It was apprehended that there would be huge tailbacks on the highways due to rains. But, it didn’t happen like that. Had the traffic management at the exit points of the capital been better, the holidaymakers would have suffered less,” he told journalists while visiting Sayedabad Bus Terminal.
Those who had no advance tickets had to wait for hours together for tickets and once they managed tickets they had to fight hard for seats in buses, trains and launches.
Large crowds were seen at all transport terminals and the railway station since morning, while the transport operators were struggling to cope with the rush of Eid passengers. Many passengers were seen taking risky rides on rooftops of buses, trains and launches.
Transport operators said the mad rush of homebound passengers will continue till Thursday night.
Meanwhile at least 14 people, including six women, were killed and 11 others injured in separate road accidents ahead of Eid-ul-Azha in Sunamganj, Tangail, Barguna, Chittagong and Brahmanbaria districts.
The holidaymakers headed towards northern and southern districts had to face trouble as almost all the buses departed Gabtoli terminal hours behind their schedules.
Transports workers said they failed to maintain the schedules for tailbacks on highways and the city’s entry points, though the minister claimed that there were little traffic congestions.
Aminul, a staff of Hanif Paribahan, said most of their buses could not reach the terminal from outside Dhaka due to the traffic jams, causing the schedule failure of the buses.
Superintendent of police (SP) of Highway police (Gazipur) Shafiqul Islam said vehicles were moving slowly on Dhaka–Tangail highway as they hardly been able to gear up to 20-25 km per hour since the morning due to heavy pressure of traffic.
He said highway police along with community ones, traffic and district police were trying to improve the situation.
Similarly, buses from Southern districts could not reach the terminal timely due to heavy tailbacks on both sides of Daulatdia-Paturia Ferry Ghat.
Besides, a number of eid trippers alleged that bus operators were charging extra taking advantage of the situation.
The transport employees said they were charging a little bit higher than the official fare chart to recoup their losses as their buses were returning from outside the capital almost empty.
The heavy rush of people at Sadarghat launch terminal was seen since morning. Launch passengers had to negotiate heavy traffic between Gulistan and Sadarghat Launch Terminal.
BIWTA transport inspector (TI) M Soliman said the launch terminal witnessed huge rush of passengers on Wednesday.
He said though the pressure of passengers was little bit thin in the morning, it started swelling afternoon as those finished office works early made their frantic efforts to go home.
He said 57 launches left the terminal for different destinations from 6am to 6pm on Wednesday. On Tuesday, 110 launches left the terminal with overloaded passengers.
Many passengers alleged the launch operators were charging extra, an allegation denied by the operators.
The surge of home-goers at Kamalapur Rail Station was more intense than the previous days.
Most of the trains were overcrowded as many passengers were seen taking risky rides on rooftops having failed to mange a room inside the train compartments.
Though most trains had left the station in time on Tuesday, the railway authorities on Wednesday failed to maintain the train schedules, causing sufferings to passengers.
Dhumketu Express was scheduled to leave the station for Rajshahi around 7am but it set out its journey around 10am, while Khulna-bound Shundarban Express left the station an hour behind its schedule.
Kamalapur Railway Station Master-2 Nripendra Chandra Shaha said they are making their all-out efforts to maintain the train schedules. Only 2-3 trains left behind the schedules for the excessive pressure of passengers, he added.
He said 23 trains left the station for different destinations as of 12noon on Wednesday.