Public transport flout health rules


No social distancing is maintained, while many passengers are without masks as they are standing on a passenger bus at Gulistan in the capital on Tuesday.	PHOTO: OBSERVER

No social distancing is maintained, while many passengers are without masks as they are standing on a passenger bus at Gulistan in the capital on Tuesday. PHOTO: OBSERVER

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic the government has permitted public transport to run services maintaining health directives and asked transport owners and workers not to take on board any extra passenger over the sitting capacity.
The public transport workers were asked not to carry passengers without face masks and not to board standing passengers.
Visiting different parts of Dhaka city this correspondent found the city bus services are violating the government order and no government agency was found on the road to monitor compliance to the government directives.
Transport workers are running their transport as usual.
Why are they allowing passengers to get on board public transport without wearing face masks? Replying to the question, Rubel Rana, a supervisor of Rajanigandha Paribahan, said, “We ask all to wear face masks before boarding a bus. But, if someone gets into the bus without wearing a mask, we can’t disembark them.”
Regarding carrying extra passengers, Midline Paribahan supervisor Billal Hossain said, “We are trying to maintain all health guidelines, but it becomes a problem during office hours and at office break.”
“Besides, sometimes passengers force themselves on to the buses ignoring the seat capacity despite reminders from our staff,” he added.
Rony Talukder, a transport owner of Agradut Pvt Ltd, said, “We, the bus owners, regularly give strict directives to our bus staff to follow the government issued heath guidelines. We take instant corrective actions if any kind of slackness is noticed.”
Regarding the violation of the government notification Md Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, Secretary General of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, said, “Only issuing government notifications will not work without implementation and monitoring of it.”
“There are four parties-transport passengers, owners, workers and the government. Discipline on the road will not come if any of these parties shows reluctance to abide by the rules and regulations,” he added.
However, after having found cell phones of several officials of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and other related departments of the government switched off it was not possible to know about the implementation and monitoring of health guidelines in the transport sector.
The government allowed mass transport to ply in limited scale from June 1 last year after more than two months of suspension for countrywide general holidays due to the coronavirus pandemic. Buses were allowed to ply on condition of keeping 50 per cent seats vacant and strictly maintaining health guidelines. But, the government also has raised the fares by 60 per cent on demand of the transport owners as they have to carry passengers half the transport’s capacity.
However, transport owners began operating buses at full capacity and returned to pre-Covid fare from September 1 last year. Bus operators were directed to reinstate the pre-pandemic fares and ensure health safety guideline as they restored services in full swing.

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