As per government instructions, on the third day of the lockdown, public transport has started operating in Chattogram city from Wednesday morning. However, the presence of both passengers and public transport on the road was relatively lesser than usual. There is also no traffic congestion on the roads.
Golam Rasul Babul, secretary-general of the Chattogram District Road Transport Owners Group, told The Business Standard that some 450 to 500 buses and minibuses run on various routes around Chattogram city.
"Some 300 Buses have started to operate in the city since Wednesday morning in compliance with the health rules as per the government's instructions. But passenger turnout is lesser than usual due to the lockdown," he added.
Passenger rush is relatively less at several important junctions of Chattogram city, including AK Khan junction, GEC junction, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, and Lalkhanbazar. Some buses are running with empty seats. Autorickshaw drivers were also waiting for passengers.
Priyo Dey was on his way to the Chattogram Court Building from the AK Khan Gate area of the city on Wednesday morning. He said there are fewer than usual people and vehicles on the streets.
About his commute, he said, "I paid the same amount for the travel with CNG autorickshaw as I usually do. And, it is good to see drivers wearing face masks," he added.
Meanwhile, with the recommencement of public transport, the suffering of EPZ, Chattogram Port, and Customs officials has somewhat decreased. For the past two days, many had to walk or take a rickshaw to and from work due to the ban on public transportation.
Mizanur Rahman, who works at Chattogram EPZ, said EPZ workers have suffered indescribably due to the closure of public transport for the last two days.
"On Wednesday morning, there were fewer buses on the roads than before. There are instructions to leave 50% seats vacant on buses but the number of buses has not increased. Therefore, even if public transport movement starts, workers of EPZ-centric companies who do not have their transport will still have to suffer," he added.
Harunur Rashid, general secretary of Chattogram Auto-rickshaw Auto-tempu Workers Union, said some 2,000 tempus and 13,000 autorickshaws run on different routes in Chattogram city.
"About 80% of public transport was on the roads on Wednesday. However, there are very few passengers. Drivers are worried about whether they will be able to cover fuel costs," Rashid added.
He added that drivers and assistants are operating the vehicles as per government guidelines. Transport workers have been facing financial hardships due to the closure of public transport for the last few days.
"Even though we can operate now, due to the lack of passengers, the crisis is still there," he added.