Launch operators found in the country's waterway-dependent southern place think that the completion of Padma bridge will have little effect on their business.
When passengers will start using the bridge, the number of water transport users could see a 20 % drop, but, concurrently, goods transport through waterways will increase, they believe.
Besides, the quantity of VIP passengers could boost aswell, allowing launch operators to improve the cabin fare for the new services they will introduce to stay competitive.
That is why, the operators are not that much concerned about the opening of the multipurpose bridge.
"Around 25,000-30,000 persons utilize the Barishal route each day to go to Dhaka by launch from Barishal, Bhola, Charfashion, Patuakhali, Bauphal, Hularhat and Barguna," said Mostafijur Rahman, an officer of Barishal River Port.
The quantity of passengers increases by up to 5 times through the Eid and different festivals, he said.
The interior of a VIP cabin of a launch on the Dhaka-Barishal route. PHOTO: TITU DAS
About 35 launches with almost 2,000 cabins is there to cater for about 2,000-3,000 passengers a day in the domestic route, he said.
Each day, 10 launches happen to be Dhaka from Barishal and the number of trips doubles during Eid, Rahman told The Daily Celebrity.
"As per our calculations, we're able to witness a maximum 20 % reduction in the amount of passengers," said Saidur Rahman Rintu, owner of the Sundarban Navigation Company.
Besides, no method of transport is cheaper in terms of shipping goods even while road transport is very expensive, he said.
It requires just Tk 200 to move goods by launch, which are as well flawlessly safe and comfortable for travel, Rintu added.
"Therefore even if the amount of passengers on the launch deck decreases slightly, the amount of passengers found in the cabins and VIP cabins will not fall while goods transport will mark a growth."
"We want to provide better solutions to motivate more people to utilize the waterways," said Rejin-ul-Kabir, owner of a Dhaka-Barishal passenger ferry called Surovi.
In line with the Sundarban authorities, the Sundarban-18 might be launched within half a year, that will include new services such as for example VIP cabins, standard cabins and lifts.
The water vessel owners also believe the passengers will prefer using the water routes than the bridge or road transports, as launches offer comfortable beds to the commuters through the journey.
"I love to travelling by launch as a result of the comfort it includes," said Ali Jasim, who has been a standard passenger of water vessels for some time.
"I sleep the whole period since boarding the vessel at 8pm from Barishal to reaching Dhaka terminal each morning. The routine continues to be the same on my in the past to home. The voyage is indeed comfortable that I never feel tired."
At present, about 3,000 persons travel from Barishal to Dhaka by highway every day and this number increases by 4 to 5 instances during Eid.
If comfortable and fast-moving buses are introduced on the way, many people would begin taking their service, said Kishore Kumar Das, secretary of the Barishal Bus Owners' Association.
Due to this fact, at least 5 moments more people could use the road each day, Das added.