The counters of most of the bus companies at the Gabtali bus terminal were closed. Some counters were partially open, but with no one inside. Commuters arriving at the terminals were turning way and turning to other means of transport.
Many passengers were seen taking rides in private cars and motorcycles from Gabtali to Paturia in Manikganj. The private cars were charging from Tk 400 to Tk 500 per person for the trip. Motorbikes were charging almost the same.
During this programme of the public transport and good-carrying vehicles, a bus of Moumita Paribahan was seen picking up passengers along the Savar-Jatrabari route. It was charging Tk 300 per passenger up till Paturia. The normal fare is Tk 100 to Tk 120. The bus driver Mamun Miah said the owners association has prohibited the buses being taken out, so they would not be going directly to Paturia. They would be going through Singair upazila in Manikganj.
Abdul Mannan is to travel to Faridpur from Dhaka and was waiting for a bus at Gabtali. He said he has got a job at Faridpur and is supposed to join today. Yet there are no buses. He will have to pay many times higher for alternative means of transport, yet he doesn't have that much money with him.
Hasan Mohammad, the counter manager of the long route bus service Golden Line, said all buses have been halted at the decision of the owners association. That is why they have kept the counters closed.
Those in charge of other counters said there is not much chance of buses operating by tonight either.
No buses were plying in the city streets on Friday. Cars, motorcycles, CNG-run autorickshaws and rickshaws were seen on the streets.
Commuters complained that these others modes of transport were charging high prices in the absence of buses.
The government has hiked the price of diesel by Tk 15 per litre from Wednesday midnight. Sources in the transport sector say that leaders of the transport sector held meetings among themselves after this price hike. It was decided at these meetings to bring public transport to a halt until the government announced an increase in fares. However, most the leaders are involved in ruling party politics and so did not want to declare an official strike. They decided to unofficially bring the buses, trucks and other commercial transport to a halt. The owners and workers of the sector have said that public transport and good-carrying vehicles will remain halted from 6:00am Friday for an indefinite period.