The number of city buses was fewer on the roads on Friday as Jubo League men had already hired many buses to go to their golden jubilee rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan causing immense sufferings for commuters on Dhaka roads.
Despite fewer in numbers, buses en route to Motijheel, Saydabad or Jatrabari from Mirpur dropped off passengers at the Farmgate stoppage and returned back to Mirpur forcing many commuters to walk to their destinations.
Md Golam Saqlain, a student, was headed for Banglamotor from his Mohammadpur abode on Friday afternoon. He could reach the destination after 1 hour and 15 minute's hectic journey which usually takes a maximum of 15-20 minutes.
"It was not like other Fridays in the capital city of Dhaka. We were stuck at Khamarbari for around 20 minutes due to traffic congestion. After crossing the intersection we could reach Farmgate at a snail pace. From Framgate, the vehicles were seen stagnant, none of them were moving towards Karwan Bazar or Shahbagh area. So, we got off the bus and walked all the way," he narrated his journey.
From Farmgate to Shahbag area, hundreds of buses were seen parked on the main roads in queues, halting traffic movement and most of the passengers en route to Shahbagh, Press Club, and Motijheel areas had to walk for a while.
Patients, family members and relatives also suffered due to lack of public transport and traffic diversion in some places for the rally. Besides, most of the CNG-driven auto rickshaws hiked fares fewer times than previous days.
Patients were seen waiting in front of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, BIRDEM and Dhaka Medical College area for vehicles. People at Old Dhaka, Paltan, Azimpur, New Market areas also faced traffic congestions. They saw huge traffic in the evening when several thousands of Jubo league men came out of the rally venue.
Not only city roads, entry points of the capital city also saw a standstill of traffic movement. Some people who needed to reach Sadarghat could not reach on time.
Nasiruddin Khokan, who works at a private company in Gazipur, started his journey toward Dhaka city from Konabari area at 8am Friday and reached Kuril at 12:15pm. It took more than four hours to cross only 27 kilometres.
"Ruling party men were getting on the hired buses in the middle of the roads, causing a huge gridlock even on a holiday. People are forced to commute on foot for lack of public transport," Nasiruddin narrates his journey.
Mahmudul Hasan, a student of Jahangirnagar University, told TBS that they had to face traffic congestions at entry points of the city even on Friday. Vehicles en route to Kalyanpur from Gabtoli got stuck.
"We usually come to Dhaka city on holidays to avoid traffic jams, but political gatherings on these days made the journey hectic too," he added.
However, Refatul Islam, assistant commissioner (Ramna Traffic Zone) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told The Business Standard that city traffic was well managed. They had to maintain all the diversion and people's entry from early on Friday.
He, however, admitted that people had to suffer a bit when the rally ended and most of Jubo league men were returning back.
In reply to a query why buses carrying Jubo League activists were parked on city roads in a queue, causing traffic gridlock, top police officials refused to make any comment.
By maintaining tolerable diversions, the traffic divisions have been able to keep all types of traffic movement. No long traffic congestion was reported at any place today, he added.
Ahead of the Jubo League rally, the police on Wednesday gave directives for traffic diversions at Kataban Crossing, Hotel Intercontinental Crossing, Police Bhaban Crossing, Kakrail Church Crossing, UBL Crossing, High Court Crossing, Doel Chattar Crossing, Dhaka University Medical Centre, Jagannath Hall Crossing, Dhaka University Raju Bhashkarja Crossing and Vice Chancellor Bhaban Crossing.