It was 12:36 PM on 7 June. A Tangail-bound bus named Dhaleshwari came from the Mohakhali Bus Terminal and pulled up on the road right in front of the terminal to take passengers. The bus remained there for around 20 minutes before finally leaving for Tangail.
The road was already jam packed, but the bus driver looked nonchalant. When asked why he was taking passengers by stopping the bus on the main road creating a traffic jam in the process. His answer seemed ready.
"Not only me, but all the bus drivers park their buses in front of the terminal after bringing their buses out of the depot," said the driver Manik Miah.
And he was right. Some more buses lined up on the road behind Dhaleshwari, all waiting for passengers. As they parked on the main road, the road narrowed, slowing down other vehicles. At one point, it led to a traffic jam.
Mohakhali Bus Terminal, standing in the centre of the city, is considered one of the major reasons for creating traffic congestion in the city. The city corporation has long been saying the bus terminal will be shifted outside the city, but that is yet to happen. With an increasing number of buses, the traffic congestion situation in the area is deteriorating day by day.
The buses are not only parked on the roads for taking passengers. A bus called Jalshiri has been parked on the road in front of the Mohakhali Bus Terminal for around 4 hours. Its driver Hafizul was sitting inside the bus.
When asked why he has kept the bus on the road, he said that as there is no space for parking buses inside the bus terminal, he has to keep the bus on the main road.
"I don't keep the bus here for the whole day, we have the next trip coming up in a few hours. Where will I keep the bus now?" said Hafizul.
Not only Jalshiri, but leaders of the bus owners community also keep their buses on the road in front of the terminal. This correspondent saw four buses of Ena transport lined up along the road, narrowing the road space.
Khandakar Enayetullah, the managing director of Ena is also the general secretary of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association.
When asked why his buses are parked on the roads in front of the bus terminal, Khandakar Enayetullah told The Business Standard that the city corporation had taken away the place where he used to keep his buses for constructing a U-loop, so he was forced to park his buses on the road.
"There is no space inside the terminal. I am looking for a place for my bus depot but I am not getting the place," said Enayetullah.
The scenario of the Tejgaon Industrial Area especially the roads adjoining the terminal changes completely at night. The streets and alleys of the area become flooded with buses narrowing the lanes. People have to stay stuck in traffic congestion for hours.
Abdul Malek, general secretary, Mohakhali Bus Malik Samity said as there is insufficient space inside the bus terminal, they have to park buses on the roads.
"In 1984, when the bus stand was constructed, the capacity was for 300 buses. After the construction of the building at the centre of the terminal, the space was reduced," said Abdul Malek.
He said that now some 1,200 buses run daily between the capital city and other districts using the terminal. As a result, they have to keep the additional buses on the roads.
He said that they requested the city corporation as well as the transport ministry many times to allocate some space for the additional buses. But they did not hear their plea. They also wrote to different ministers but nothing was solved.
"The government is taking 300% tax from these buses but when we need space for keeping the bus they do not want to give us space," said Abdul Malek. He said that the government should take this into consideration before giving route permits and registration.
When asked about the government's initiative to relocate the inter-district bus stands to the outskirts of the city, the bus owner's leader said that they will move out in that case.
"Bus owners do not keep their vehicles on the road on purpose," said Abdul Malek.
"Sometimes, the police remove our vehicles from the roads, after they leave we shamelessly park the bus at the same spot once again. This is how our days are passing," admitted Abdul Malek. "We are playing hide and seek (with the authorities) when it comes to bus parking."
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam said that the city corporation decided to turn the Mohakhali Bus Terminal into a modern bus terminal.
"No inter-district bus will be allowed to come to this bus terminal. We will shift the Mohakhali Bus Terminal to Abdullahpur area, on the outskirt of the city," said mayor Atiqul Islam. "We have already drawn up the plan; we will do it soon God willing."
Law enforcement agency members have their fair share of struggles when it comes to keeping the roads of the Tejgaon Industrial Area clear. Rabiul Islam, deputy commissioner at Gulshan Traffic Division of DMP said that the terminal does not have the capacity to keep all the buses.
"We try to allow the bus to park on the roads in such a way that it does not create obstacles on the road," said Rabiul Islam.