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Saturday Feature
City terminals abuzz with Eid rush again
Munima Sultana

          When a problem gets matted, it is logical to handle it softly and in an amicable way. But due to mishandling of the transport-related problems, woes of the passengers have been increasing, particularly on the occasions of Eid festivals. This year there is no exception.
The homebound passengers, this year, are bearing the brunt of additional ticket fares following the rise of the oil price internationally. But inadequate transports and mismanagement in ticketing as was in the earlier years have multiplied the homebound passengers' woes. Many have to accept the situation and buy tickets.
Ehsan Chowdhury managed seven non-AC intercity tickets standing in separate queues of AC and non-AC ticket booths for more than three hours.
"It was a great effort. We rushed to Kamalapur Railway Station soon after taking Sehri. Then we got divided into two groups, gave the others necessary directions and queued up in two lines. After hours of battle, we managed the tickets,' said Rana.
He also said as the railway authority does not sell more than four tickets to a single passenger, they had to take three other persons with them to stand in two separate queues to collect the tickets.
Although Rana and Chowdhury were lucky to manage their tickets, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who spend hours after hours, and finally manage tickets. They buy tickets either at exorbitant rate or give tips to travel on rooftop putting their lives at risk. A section of people including transport and political workers are to blame for this kind of situation.
Critics said the government has so far tried to solve the problems introducing the advanced ticket system and increasing the number of train, bus and launch services for a certain period. But none of these was done as per the need of the passengers. It can easily be managed through e-ticketing and in more innovative ways, they added.
The capital city witnesses the rush of the increasing number of homebound passengers on every such occasion because of the tradition to celebrate the Eid festival with near and dear ones.
This year the government has taken a number of initiatives to facilitate the innumerable people's journey back home to their villages to celebrate the Eid festival. As part of the initiatives, Bangladesh Railway (BR), Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) and Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) have started sale of advance tickets. BR started selling of advance tickets of intercity trains from October 25 and it will continue until October 29.
BIWTC has also taken measures to introduce more launches on different routes as well as fine the passengers who will be found travelling on the deck. It has also been trying to make the people aware to avert the risk of launch mishaps. On the other hand, BRTC has already arranged additional inter-district bus services on different routes.
But still there are allegations against all the authorities. Although, the government has revised the ticket fares in accordance with the increase of international oil prices, it is alleged that the ticket prices have been increased two to three-fold. Many launch passengers complained that tickets of the exclusive group including the first or second class tickets were sold before the start of their sale.
No one is there to look into these allegations, said Md Yunus while talking to this scribe. 'Is there any example that any service was improved and prices were lowered in the country?' he questioned.
Mohammad Ismail and Robi, the first a rickshawpuller and the other roadside vendor, said they have become habituated with this kind of problems. A man at a railway ticket counter said these are all common during the Eid festival and all have to accept that.
But Rity was not ready to accept all these. She said making any problem a tradition cannot be acceptable. This proves how much sincere a government is in solving the people's problem, she added.
"Eid is the biggest occasion for the majority of the people," she said adding that only through political commitment, the government can improve the situation to a great extent.


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