The traffic condition within Dhaka remained normal since Friday (9 December) morning, however, the number of passengers in the long-haul buses have been low ahead of Bangladesh Nationalist Party's (BNP) rally on Saturday (10 December).
Less number of buses are leaving from and coming to Dhaka.
"Passenger number has been low since morning. Only three buses left till 12pm today, normally at least 23 buses depart by this hour," said Abir, the counter master of Sirajganj Express in the capital's Technical Mor.
"No other bus from our company will leave Dhaka today," he added.
Md Mujibar, the counter master of a bus service plying on the Dhaka-Pabna route said, "The number of passengers traveling was normal till yesterday. But we are getting very few passengers from this morning. Nine buses leave daily till 12:15pm. Five buses left today, that too with only half passengers. We will now run bus service with an interval of two schedules consecutively but won't stop the service."
Most bus counters were empty.
"People are panicking about the rally. As a result, people do not want to travel today. There are no passengers in the buses except for Dhaka from the districts. Therefore, since yesterday, bus services from the districts have been halted," said Md Anwar Hossain the counter master of Shahjadpur Travels.
"10 buses leave from morning till 12pm. But today, only 5 left. Each bus left 45 minutes to an hour and a half late. This happened due to a lack of passengers," he added.
Naeem, a checker of Paritran Paribahan, said, "Passengers were very less in the morning. However, as the day progressed, the number of passengers increased. But since it is Friday, the number of buses is less. Every Friday there are fewer buses on the road in the morning. The number of buses increases after the Jummah prayers."
Fewer buses on Dhaka-Barishal route due to lack of passengers
Due to a lack of passengers, the number of buses plying on the Dhaka-Barishal route decreased on Friday.
Passenger numbers started to decrease three days ago ahead of the BNP rally in Dhaka.
"We have regular bus trips on Dhaka Barishal highway but the passengers are not available for three days. Today passengers number is very few." said Mamun, a staff of Hanif Paribahan of Nathullabad Bus stand in Barishal.
"I have been waiting here for an hour to get a bus. Though buses are available but there are not many passengers," said Azad Hossain, a Dhaka-bound passenger adding that he had to get to the capital as he has an appointment with a doctor on Friday evening.
Fewer passengers in launches as well
A single launch left Barishal Launch terminal with fewer passengers on Friday evening.
Normally at least four launches leave the Barishal launch terminal every evening according to the launch owners association in Barishal.
Passengers were seen in fewer numbers at the terminal comparing the other days.
"We can't operate launches without passengers. At least 600 passengers are needed to operate a trip of the launch." Said Saidur Rahman Rintu, the owner of the Sunderban launch franchise.
The passengers who had emergency business to attend to in Dhaka boarded the launch.
"One of my relatives is going abroad and I have to go to see off him on Saturday evening though I know it's risky to move to Dhaka on Saturday." Said Shahidul Islam, a Dhaka-bound passenger, citing the final divisional rally of BNP in Dhaka.
The number of passengers is decreased for a few days due to the political programme in Dhaka, said the staff of different launches.
Passengers arriving at Sadarghat in Dhaka were also fewer in numbers Friday morning.
"Fewer launches left Thursday night mainly due to a lack of passengers. However, the impact can be assessed from 4pm to 7pm in the afternoon. Because in these three hours more than 50 launches usually leave and come to Dhaka port from different districts," said Dhaka Port Director Alamgir Kabir.