The risk of coronavirus transmission has increased to a great extent as most bus owners in general continue to defy government directives on strictly maintaining physical distance in operating public transports.
Worried passengers have complained that health safety or maintaining hygiene is not being followed in most public transports. Some passengers, having such experiences, said that in most cases conductors and bus helpers grab by the passengers at the time of boarding and disembarking the bus.
Passengers explained that in most public buses helpers stand at the door helping passengers to board the bus. As a result, it is not possible to maintain distance while passengers are boarding and disembarking the buses. This also increases the risk of coronavirus infection.
Earlier, transport owners were instructed to run public transports on the road in compliance with health safety guidelines, including maintaining physical distance. Passengers were informed accordingly. But it seems, most of the public transport officials and passengers seems to be not following those hygiene rules or safe distances.
Although it was supposed to carry passengers at half the capacity of the total seats in the buses to prevent coronavirus infection, however, in most cases just the opposite picture is observed.
Moving around different areas in the capital on Friday Bangladesh Post correspondent found that most of the buses were not maintaining physical distance and complied with health safety rules.
In many buses, hand sanitizers were not given to the passengers before they were picked up. There are, nevertheless, a number of buses in the city that are following the hygiene rules, but the number is quite low.
In the beginning there were a tendencies to follow the rules of hygiene and social distance, but at present it is almost non-existent.
Many of the bus drivers and their helpers do not use masks, and even if there are some, they are not properly used as per the rules.
Bimol Deb, a passenger of Motijheel-bound bus from Mohakhali in the capital, has expressed his grievances over holding hands by the bus helpers. "The bus helper stands at the gate while picking up the passengers," he said.
A fellow passenger, Bilkis Aktar, said, “Where there is a rule of maintaining at least a distance of three feet to avoid coronavirus infection, the conductors and helpers of the buses are grabbing paxsengers. If this continues, there could be wider transmission of coronavirus from public transports.”
It was noticed in Balaka Paribahan that the helper was grabbing the body of passengers while picking them up in a hurry. However, physical distance was being observed while sitting on the seats.
Asked about the reason for picking up passengers with his hands, Faruk Miah, helper of Balaka Paribahan, said, "Everyone is in a hurry when the passengers get on the bus." He told everyone to stand in line but no one complies. “If the passengers do not follow the rules, what is the use if we maintain health safety rules at our end only,” he said.
Talking to the traffic police in several areas of the capital, they said that police have been deployed at various points in the capital to ensure safety in public transport. It is true that some buses are not complying but for that reason they are also facing punishments as per the laws.