Passengers who could not buy advance tickets were compelled to spend extra money for bus tickets
Palash, a private job holder, had been waiting at the Gabtoli bus terminal since evening on Thursday – the last working day before Eid-ul-Adha – to buy a ticket for Satkhira.
He has got a five-day holiday, which he does not want to waste staying in the capital – away from his dear ones.
He asked a counter master for a ticket.
The man at the counter offered Palash a seat on the engine cover of the bus at Tk670.
Palash thought about the offer for a few moments.
Usually, a seat in a non-AC coach costs Tk500 on this route. But passengers alleged that the bus owners were taking additional Tk170 per seat.
Like Palash, thousands of homebound people were waiting for tickets at Gabtoli.
They could not buy advance tickets as tickets started selling on July 26 because they were not certain about the exact date of Eid.
These passengers were compelled to spend extra money for bus tickets.
The scenario was the same at almost all bus counters in the capital.
Shahinur, a Khulna-bound passenger, paid Tk1,600 for two tickets although the price of each ticket is usually Tk610. He had to pay an extra Tk190 per ticket.
When asked why he did not complain to the authorities concerned, he said his only concern for the time was to go home, not complaining.
“I am dying to go home. I am not concerned about anything else,” Shahinur said.
About additional charges, Mohammad Faruq, supervisor in-charge of the Bangladesh Bus Truck Owners’ Association, said, “We did not see anything like this the whole day. Brokers are also not there like before. Besides, none filed any complaint so far. We will take steps if we receive any complaint.”
Meanwhile, passengers were complaining about delay of the buses at Gabtoli counter.
“This is because ferries are hardly operating today [Thursday] for water level increase in the Padma due to rain,” Faruq said.
A temporary camp of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority has been set up in Gabtoli for receiving complaints.
Shamsuddin Ahmed, a vehicle inspector, said, “We are here to listen to passengers’ complaints if any bus service is charging high.”
He also said they had not received any complaint yet.
Mohammad Shafiqul Islam, a sub-inspector of the police camp set up there, said, “We are monitoring the terminal for 24 hours. If anyone is found guilty, we will take legal action against them.”
He also said if any bus does not have route permit to go outside Dhaka, the buses will not be allowed to go.