Eid holidaymakers throng launch terminal for advance tickets

Dhaka,  Mon,  24 July 2017
Published : 20 Jun 2017, 00:20:51
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Eid holidaymakers throng launch terminal for advance tickets

Special service begins tomorrow
Talha Bin Habib


The launch terminal in the city witnessed a rush of advance ticket seekers on Monday, as special launch service for Eid holidaymakers begins on Wednesday.

More than half a million city dwellers are expected to use the waterway to go to southern districts ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr to celebrate the largest religious festival with their near and dear ones.     

Eid will be celebrated on June 26 or 27, subject to the sighting of moon.

Launch operators started selling advance tickets at the Dhaka River Port Terminal at Sadarghat on June 15 but the response from passengers has been muted until Sunday.

Usually, 75 or 80 launches run on 41 river routes from the Sadarghat launch terminal to southern districts a day. In addition to the existing number, the launch operators press 50 or 55 more vessels into service a day to cater to the need of increasing passengers ahead of Eid.

During a visit to the Sadarghat launch terminal on Monday, this correspondent found most ticket counters busy selling advance tickets.  

Several passengers told the FE that they have come to buy tickets to avoid last-minute hassle.  

Many passengers are also collecting advance tickets online or through mobile phone, launch operators said.

On the other hand, advance ticket seekers fear that the launch companies might realise extra fare from them on the plea that most tickets were sold online.

They called on the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and the Department of Shipping (DoS) to look into the matter and ensure safe journey during Eid vacation.

"I have bought four tickets for my family members to go to Barisal ahead of Eid," said a beaming Md Abdul Aziz Hawlader, a private service holder, at Sadarghat launch terminal.

Additional vigilance teams and mobile courts will be deployed at different river ports across the country from Friday to ensure security of the passengers, sources said.

Sellers at the launch ticket counters told the FE that they received good response from the homebound passengers.

"We are getting good responses. Sales of advance tickets are satisfactory," a ticket seller of Padma Waterways told the FE.  

Meanwhile, the BIWTA said all-out preparations have been made to ensure a hassle-free and safe journey for the home-bound passengers during Eid.

In the last 20 years, over 5,500 people died and 1,236 went missing in launch accidents across the country largely due to unfit water vessels, sources said.

Taking the safety issue into consideration, the DoS has taken steps to inspect all the launches and look into safety measures before allowing them to start their journey.

Over 1,000 launches will carry passengers before Eid holidays across the country, according to the BIWTA.  

Bangladesh Inland Waterways (Passenger Carriers) Association has decided that they will not raise launch fare during the Eid vacation.

An influential leader of the association told the FE that they will not increase launch fares as it will add to the woes of passengers.

The fare for deck for one-way journey between Dhaka and Barisal is fixed at Tk 250 while the fare for cabin ranging between Tk 1,000 and Tk 2,000 will remain unchanged.

    talhabinhabib@yahoo.com
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