Long-route buses, trains and launches resumed operations on Monday after a 49-day suspension following restrictions the government imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The resumption of public transport services has also brought smile to the faces of transport workers and their owners as they remained idle for about two months.The government on Sunday extended the lockdown until May 30 allowing operations of long-haul buses, trains and launches.
Although inter-district buses were allowed to start services from Monday morning, some buses started running from Sunday midnight keeping 50 per cent of their seats empty as per the government’s directives.
Bus operators said the vehicles are leaving the capital following the hygiene rules and keeping 50 per cent of their seats vacant in line with the government’s instructions.
Secretary General of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association Khandaker Enayet Ullah said the long-route buses resumed their services at half of their capacity since Monday morning. “Strict action will be taken if health safety rules are violated and additional fare than the government-fixed one is charged,” he said.
The government earlier allowed intra-district bus services from May 6 amid the lockdown.
After being closed for seven weeks, intercity trains resumed their services at half of the capacity, maintaining health guidelines.Passengers can purchase train tickets only online.
All concerned, including passengers, have been asked to board trains wearing masks to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Kamalapur Railway Station Master Md Rafiqul Islam said, “Trains are being operated following health safety rules. As per the instructions, every train is running leaving 50 per cent seats vacant. And all tickets are being sold online. So, no ticket is available at the station.”
Launches also started operating from the Sadarghat in the capital.
Many launches were seen leaving the terminal since morning, carrying passengers to their destinations after nearly two months. However, the number of passengers was lesser than usual.
Over 50 launches from Lalkuthi to Badamtali were anchored at the Sadarghat terminal on Monday.
They were leaving with passengers at an interval of 30 minutes from the pontoons of Chandpur, Shariatpur and Muladi. The launches are running at half of their capacity in compliance with the government’s directives.
Joint Director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (Dhaka port) Md Gulzar Ali said, “The launch service resumed around 6:00am with the operation of a Chandpur-bound launch. Later, launches started plying on other routes.”