Bus owners said the usual number of travellers will be touring on different Dhaka-southern districts routes on the first day of the Padma Bridge opening on Sunday, though they earlier had anticipated a huge rush.
The owners in the country's southern and south-western districts said some of their long-haul coaches will start operating via the Padma Bridge, while the rest of the fleet will still be taking the ferry services.
All of these inter-district buses used to take ferry services at Daulatdia-Paturia or Shimulia-Kathalbari points.
Mosharaf Hossain, general manager of Hanif Enterprise said, "Our buses will go through the megastructure from now on. But there is no passenger rush on Sunday."
Jahir, manager of Sakura Paribahan in Barishal said, "We are getting good response from passengers and have sold most tickets on Sunday."
He said the operator will increase buses via the bridge if they get more passengers.
Around 100 buses of different companies will make their maiden trips via the Padma Bridge on Sunday morning.
Sakura fixed Tk600 fare for its air-conditioned buses and Tk400 for non-AC buses from Barishal to Dhaka.
The State-owned Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) says it will charge Tk500 for AC service via the bridge. "We have 14 AC buses prepared at Barishal depot," said Jahangir Alom, manager of BRTC Barishal depot.
He said the number of coaches will be increased if BRTC gets enough passengers.
On the inauguration day on Saturday, only invited guests, dignitaries and journalists were allowed to the Padma Bridge project site, as the mass movement was highly restricted.
But general people may be rushing for the project site as soon as their turn comes, causing an unusual pressure on the local buses from Dhaka and other districts to Mawa and Jazira end of the bridge.
Mosharaf too said the local buses may face a passenger rush on Sunday. Bus operators on the Dhaka-Mawa route said they are fully prepared to tackle the extra pressure.
Md Zubaer Hossen, director of FR Enterprise that offers a luxury bus service from Mirpur to Mawa, said around 500 buses of different companies now run in the route.
"We have 40 air-conditioned buses. The buses leave Mirpur every 15-20 minutes," he said.
In the meanwhile, nearly 50 micro-buses from Barishal, which earlier used to make trips up to Kathalbari, will extend the journey to the capital.
"We used to drop passengers to the ferry terminal. But now we will carry them all the way to Dhaka," said Tipu, one of the micro-bus drivers. He said the trip to Dhaka via the Padma Bridge could take five hours, but the fares are likely to be less than the buses.
Some buses are also joining the fleet to carry passengers in Barishal-Dhaka route.
"We bring in new buses, and some of them have AC. I hope passengers will prefer our vehicles over micro-buses," Nizam Uddin, a bus owner, said.
Few passengers for advance Eid tickets
Buses began advance Eid ticket sales on Friday. But there was no rush for the tickets on Saturday either.
Prabhat Roy, manager of Shyamoli NR Paribahan, said only a few tickets were sold from their Gabtoli bus counter till Saturday morning. "Other buses are also facing the same. We are just sitting idle."