Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity (JKS) has demanded effective steps to prevent traffic congestion, passenger harassment, fare disparity and road accidents during the upcoming Eid travels.
The passengers' welfare platform also urged the government and authorities concerned to ensure illegal parking and hawker free Dhaka roads and footpaths in order to reduce the suffering of the people.
A huge number of people – around one crore from Dhaka to other cities and some five crores from one city to another – are expected to travel to their hometowns this year as the infection rate of Covid-19 has gone down recently, it said in a statement signed by Secretary General Mozammel Haque Chowdhury on Sunday
"Additional safety measures, vigilance and optimisation of all vehicles in every route are necessary to prevent traffic congestion and reduce passengers' sufferings at the time of holiday travel," Secretary General Mozammel Haque said in a press briefing today at Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the capital's Shegunbagicha.
He said, "In order to avoid traffic congestion, measures should be taken to keep the crossroads clean and remove small vehicles like rickshaws, easy bikes etc from main roads."
Mozammel Haque also remarked that transport authorities should not charge passengers extra to compensate for the losses of the previous years.
"Another reason behind traffic congestion is the delay caused due to extortion done by corrupt police officials and transport leaders and the existance of multiple toll collection points," he noted adding that the authorities concerned need to take timely steps addressing these issues.
He also said, accidents take place on waterways due to vehicles lacking fitness, carrying passengers on freight vehicles, lack of buoys and safety equipment, compelling drivers to work for 10-12 hours at a stretch and employing unskilled drivers.
These issues must be solved, said Mozammel Haque.
Train schedules have also been disrupted due to the ongoing strike and if this disruption continues passenger sufferings will increase.
Accidental Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Director Prof Md Hadiuzzaman said that in a research done by BUET it was found that in 2019, one crore 15 lakh people left Dhaka during the Eid holidays, but due to coronavirus, only 60 lakh people left Dhaka during each of the last four Eid holidays.
However, the number is likely to double this year, he added.
He further said, "Our research says that this time 30 lakh people will leave Dhaka every day for four days before Eid, but the country has the capacity to transport 13-14 lakh passengers only, there is no transportation system for the rest 16 lakh.
"This time the transport system will go into a coma [transport system can break down]."
He also suggested that those who do not have any work in the capital should go to their hometowns after 20th Ramadan or at least send their families to the villages. This will reduce the sufferings. The government should give a directive in this regard, he opined.