The MV Green Line launch has temporarily suspended operations on the Dhaka-Barishal route due to maintenance work, authorities say.
The launch made its last departure at 3 pm on Monday before repairs began, according to Lakhshan Chandra, an official of Green Line.
Another launch, which plies on the Dhaka-Bhola route, will remain operational, he said.
Besides the need for maintenance, the number of passengers on the Dhaka-Barishal route has declined, he said, but dismissed the idea that it was the reason service was halted.
Md Sajib, sales officer at the Barishal counter said the vessel, capable of carrying 750 passengers, usually departs Dhaka at 8 am every day. He reiterated Lakhshan’s statement that the launch had stopped its operation due to maintenance.
However, Md Hassan Sardar Badshah, a manager at a Green Line counter, said the launch service was halted due to the lack of passengers after the opening of the Padma Bridge.
He said the launch service can cover its ‘operational cost’ if it carried 600 passengers per trip. However, since the opening of the mega bridge, they have struggled to find even 200 passengers per trip.
Humayun Kabir, an official on duty at the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority in the Sadarghat, said he will send a letter to Green Line seeking to know the reason behind the launch’s suspension and the time by which they need to resume it.
Humayun said that it is normal to suspend operations due to technical problems and indicated that the Green Line authorities should have officially informed them of their service suspension.
At this time of the year, the number of launch passengers is usually lower, Humayun said, adding that on Monday, 95 launches left Dhaka’s Sadarghat for different destinations. The number was 97 on Sunday.