Sunday, October 20, 2019 | ePaper

Failing to ensure smooth journey for homegoers

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Thousands of people who travelled by train on north-western and southern train routes suffered most as the schedules collapsed. Homegoers, travelling on road towards the destinations, also suffered badly. They remained stuck for hours in jam while waiting to board ferries and on some major highways, including Dhaka-Tangail highway.
Earlier, tens of thousands of people thronged different railway stations as well as launch and bus terminals in the capital. All the intercity trains running on the routes were behind schedule, from one-and-a-half to more than 12 hours. Passengers' suffering worsened after Khulna-bound Sundarban Express derailed on Bangabandhu Bridge around 1:20pm, suspending rail communication between Dhaka and several other districts, including Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur, for around three hours.
Holidaymakers faced immense sufferings due to traffic congestion on Dhaka-Tangail highway in Tangail and on the highway from the western end of Bangabandhu Bridge to Hatikumrul in Sirajganj. Vehicles remained stuck in a 64km-tailback from Chandra intersection in Gazipur to the approach road of the Bangabandhu bridge since 3:00am, due to huge pressure of vehicles and bad shape of road at some places. Hundreds of vehicles also got stuck between the west end of the bridge and Hatikumrul. Due to the huge pressure, the Bridge Authorities were forced to suspend toll collection thrice. Similar woes were suffered by those waiting to go by riverine transport.
 Bangladesh's transportation sector receives insufficient attention and funding for important navigation channels that suffer from poor maintenance, and they also lack adequate depth for safety infrastructure. Many river port facilities for cargo and passengers are dilapidated with unsafe conditions and not hospitable to women, children and vulnerable passengers.
The rural roads across the country badly need contentious repair and rehabilitation. Reduced quality, construction, and carrying capacity of part of the secondary and tertiary road network is common, and large portions of roads are blocked during the rainy season. Yet, the national maintenance budget for rural roads is in deficit.
Moreover, weak public mass transport, ineffective traffic control, the mix of motorized and non-motorized vehicles, poor road manners, illegal parking, compliance, and the presence of hawkers contribute to excessive traffic congestion on highways. 

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