Indiscriminate parking of city and inter-district buses on busy roads is causing severe traffic congestion and suffering to commuters in the capital.
Mushroom growth of bus companies, parking of buses on roads for passengers and bus counters on busy road-sides impede free movement of both traffic and pedestrians every day.
Different bus companies such as Star Line, Tisha, Eagle, Jatayat, Ena, Shohag, Ekushey, Kanak, Rupali Bangla, Moon Line, Himachal, Saikot, Bismillah, Shyamoli, TR Travel, Dhaka Express, Econo Service, Royel Coach, Al-Baraka, Himalaya, Unik, Shanti, Hanif, Ananya Super and Royel Star have set up their ticket counters on busy roads, making city traffic chaotic.
The bus terminals are now not limited to the capital’s three inter-district bus terminals at Gabtali, Sayeedabad and Mohakhali. Bus terminals are now virtually set up all around the capital, including Maniknagar Biswa road, Golapbagh Biswa road, Fakirapool, Kalyanpur, Gulistan, Motijheel, Kamalapur and Mirpur.
Hundreds of buses of different inter-district routes, including Dhaka-Gazipur, Dhaka-Savar, and Dhaka-Manikganj, are using the busy Fulbaria road for illegal parking.
Slow-moving rickshaws, private cars and even passers-by cannot pass through the Fulbaria road due to the indiscriminate parking of buses on both sides of the road,” said a resident in Fulbaria area.
Besides, a number of makeshift shops, including restaurant and tea-stall, have been set up on its middle island.
Footpaths on both sides of the busy Fulbaria road, except the flyover, have virtually gone to the encroachers, a pedestrian said.
Besides, this Furbaria bus parking road and its nearby areas have turned into a safe haven for the organised gangs of criminals, including muggers, hijackers, drug traders and drug-users.
Taking advantage of the situation, criminals swoop on the passengers of the slow-moving rickshaws and passers-by and snatch their valuables, Mobarak Hossain, a security guard at City Market of Fulbaria, said.
“We can’t walk on the footpaths along the road,” he said.
“These footpaths are also grabbed by makeshift shops of motor parts, mechanics, restaurants and tea-stalls,” said Amjad Hossain, who works at a shopping centre at Fulbaria.
The terminal remains busy from 5:00am to 2:00am.
Several hundred buses and minibuses operating on various routes within and outside the city take passengers from this terminal.
Commuters from different parts of the city to Gulistan or Motijheel face problem during the rush hours – from 8:00am to 10:00am and from 4:00pm to 5:30pm- due to heavy traffic congestion.
The businessmen of three shopping centres in Fulbaria area are also facing problems due to the illegal bus parking.
“We often cannot transport our supplies through the road as it is always clogged up with traffic,” said a businessman, who owns a shoe shop at City Plaza, one of the three markets adjacent to Fulbaria road.
Echoing the same sentiment, businessmen from other markets demanded eviction of the illegal bus terminal in Fulbaria area.
“The parked buses and the crowds of drivers, conductors and spare-parts dealers discourage customers to come to this market,” said Abbas Ali, a salesman working at a shop in Zakir Plaza market.
“Despite this there’s no initiative to evict the illegal bus terminal behind the Nagar Bhaban that causes suffering to commuters and businessmen in Fulbaria area.
“The bus owners have political influence. What can we do when DSCC (Dhaka South City Corporation) itself fails to resolve this problem,” said a businessman.
Some of the bus owners and transport staff, however, feel that they are not doing anything wrong by operating buses from Fulbaria.
“We have been using this road as a terminal for over five years and the authorities concerned never objected to our activities,” said Ajmot Hossain, Kaliganj Express, a bus operator.
In the absence of bus terminals, buses are kept in front of different bus counters set up on road-sides at Gulistan, Motijheel, Kamalapur, Azimpur, Mirpur Pallabi, Victoria Park, Jatrabari, Maniknagar, Golapbagh Biswa road, Dhanmondi, Rampura, Badda, Malibagh.
Jasimuddin, a roadside furniture trader of Maniknagar Biswa road area, said, around 100 bus counters of different bus companies have been set up within half a kilometer distance stretching from Sayedabad Janopad to Maniknagar Biswa road.
About 30 to 40 buses of each bus companies usually park their buses for passengers in front of their counter from morning to midnight, causing traffic congestion in these areas, he added.
Asfaq Hossain, a worker at a bus-counter, said, the bus owners are very powerful. They are running their business managing a section of dishonest policemen.
The transport traders are keeping their vehicles on the busy roadsides blocking the main space of the roads regularly under the very nose of law enforcers.
The on-duty sergeants keep mum without taking any measures against the illegal parkers.
Even, a section of police sergeants also realise extortion from different vehicles in the name of checking their papers, Shahida Begum, a roadside tea-stall owner, alleged.
Stopping the running vehicles on the busy roads is also making traffic congestion on different raods, some pedestrians said.
A transport worker alleged that some unscrupulous policemen in the name of checking their documents realise toll from them stopping their running vehicles on busy roads and highway, causing severe traffic congestion.
Contacted, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Chief Executive Officer Khan Mohammad Belal on Monday told the daily sun that the bus parking on this busy road is illegal. But they have nothing to do.
Most of the bus companies operating on different routes have no parking places.
It is the authority of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to give permission to bus companies to run their vehicles after finding their parking places, he said.
Another DSCC official said, “DSCC has not been able to overcome this problem as the terminal has become quite prominent over the past few years.”
He said the terminal has been operating for years due to the indifference of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) to solve the problem.
But Mofij Uddin, DMP joint commissioner (traffic-south), denied the allegation and said, “It is definitely the duty of DSCC to look into the problems caused by illegal bus terminals.”
When his attention was drawn about alleged realisation of money from transport staff, the police officer said stern action will be taken against the policemen if they are found guilty of it.