Commuters on the Dhaka-Chittagong highway had a harrowing time on Wednesday as buses kept off the road due to a strike by transport operators and workers protesting against the wrecking of vehicles in street agitations.
Five owners and workers’ bodies, including the Chittagong Intercity Bus Owners Association, enforced the strike from Wednesday morning until 2pm, keeping their vehicles off the highway connecting the country’s largest port city to the capital.
No bus left for Dhaka from Chittagong after 6am. Chittagong-bound buses from Dhaka stopped leaving around 8am.
According to bus owners, as many as 1,200 buses daily ply on the highway between Dhaka and Chittagong, carrying around 50,000 passengers.
Long queues were seen in front of counters at Chittagong’s Dampara bus station where passengers scrambled for a ticket on the first bus leaving the depot at the end of the strike.
Many people, unaware of the strike, had arrived in the morning, said a salesman of Unique bus service.
Akbar Hossain, a private firm employee, was waited in a long queue at the ticket counter.
“I must go Dhaka for emergency official work. So I have to wait. But they have not begun selling tickets yet. I must catch the first bus.”
A team of 20-22 shipyard workers was seen waiting for a bus at Madambibir Hat around 10 am on Dhaka-Chittagong highway to get to their workplaces at Barguna.
“I did not know that buses would not operate. I have been standing on the road since morning. Let’s see if I can catch a truck,” Noman, one of the workers, told journalist.
No long-distance bus left Chittagong during the strike, keeping all major destinations, including Dhaka, inaccessible by bus.
However, vehicles plied normally inside the city.
“Vehicles are regularly attacked for various reasons. We are forced to enforce the strike. We are sorry for causing inconvenience to passengers,” said Intercity Bus Service Owners’ Association’s General Secretary Kafil Uddin.
He said the strike was called off at 2pm after the district police administration assured security in the transport sector.-bdnews24.com