Gabtoli ticket counters remain shut, long-route buses not leaving

Ticket counters of most of the bus companies are seen closed at Gabtoli Inter-district Bus Terminal in Dhaka on 1 November, 2023
Prothom Alo

Ticket counters of most of the bus companies at Gabtoli Bus Terminal were found closed on Wednesday, the second day of a three-day blockade enforced by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.

The tickets were not being sold in the few counters that were kept open at the inter-district bus terminal in the capital.

No passengers were seen at the bus terminal at around 9:30 am.

A handful of passengers who were seen arriving at the terminal in search of tickets told that transport movement was shut.

Agents of several public transport companies told Prothom Alo that firstly, there are no passengers at all; secondly, there is apprehension of violence on the roads. Incidents of sporadic violence have been recorded on the first day of blockade across the country. That is why the movement of buses kept shut for the sake of safety, they added.

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A visit to the inter-district bus terminal revealed that the ticket counters of Golden Line, Sakura Paribahan, JL Line, Darsana Deluxe, Subara Paribahan, Islam Paribahan, Soudia Paribahan and Star Express were closed. Just a few counters of Hanif, Shyamoli and Sohag Paribahan were found open but they were not selling any tickets. Some of the counters, however, asked people to contact them in the afternoon.

Razib Hossain, a ticket seller of Hanif Paribahan, said, “There are no passengers at all due to the blockade. I have kept the counter open since it is my duty to keep the counter open whether the buses operate or not.”

The ticket counter of Green Saint Martin Paribahan was found open. The company operates buses only at night. No advance ticket was being sold at the counter for tonight. 

Ticket seller Tareq Hossain said they are keeping the phone numbers of people who are seeking information about the tickets. The company has been mulling over at least one trip at night if they get sufficient numbers of passengers.

A handful of passengers, who arrived at the bus terminal, returned home with despair.

Migrant workers Saiful Islam and Ripon Ahmed are two such persons. They are from Meherpur district. Both of them arrived in Dhaka from Dubai by a flight at 4:00 am. Later, they arrived at Gabtoli bus terminal at around 8:30 am.

There are seven companies that operate buses to Meherpur. He enquired at the counters of all the companies but none of them could confirm whether any bus would leave today.

Saiful Islam and Ripon Ahmed were leaving the terminal at around 10:15 am.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Saiful Islam said, “We returned from Dubai. Didn’t know a blockade is going on. Now we are going to the home of a cousin in Savar. We shall go home if any bus operates at night. Otherwise we will have to find an alternative.”