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Dhaka Tribune

Enthusiastic bus owners hike fare in advance

Update : 01 Sep 2015, 08:06 PM

A number of CNG-run bus owners have already started charging passengers extra fare, even though the government has yet to make a decision in this regard.

“We are buying fuel at the new price, our cost has already increased. I have to charge extra fare now; I can’t wait for the government’s decision,” said Asadullah, driver of a CNG-run bus on Motijheel-Mirpur route.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said bus fare would not be increased before the public transport fare coordination panel placed its recommendations for evaluation.

During a briefing at the Secretariat yesterday, the minister said the recommendations would be submitted between September 5 and 10, following which the ministry would make a decision.

He said a 12-member panel were evaluating the public transport fare, while an eight-member body was reviewing CNG-autorickshaw fares. The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) chief Md Nazrul Islam is heading both the committees.

Earlier, Dhaka Bus Owners’ Association issued a circular to the bus owners which said no bus service should increase the fare until the government fixes the rate in line with the fuel price hike.

They submitted the proposal to raise the fare of local CNG-run buses to the government on Sunday.

Dhaka Metropolitan CNG-run Autorickshaw Owners’ Association also promised they would not increase fare without government nod.

However, some bus services in the capital were seen already charging their passengers extra fare.

This correspondent rode a Gazipur Paribahan bus yesterday around 10am, where the conductor charged Tk10 for the commute between Moghbazar and Paltan – double the original amount of Tk5.

When asked about it, Solaiman, the conductor, said: “We are forced by the bus owners to increase the fare. They are demanding extra money for a single trip; if we don’t collect the extra money from the passengers, we have to pay from our own pocket.”

However, he did not agree to give the contact number of the transport owner when asked.

“Most passengers are getting involved in verbal altercation with the conductors over the extra fare,” said Mainul, a passenger coming from Uttara. “I don’t know if increasing the fare is the solution – it will only cause us more sufferings.”

Passengers from time to time have complained about having to pay more than what the BRTA fixed on its fare chart in 2011.

Mozammel Haque, secretary general of Jatri Kalyan Samity, said: “We have already been paying extra fare for long. If it increases again, it will become very difficult to live in Dhaka.”

When his attention was drawn to the fact that autorickshaws do not follow rates set by the government when charging passengers, Obaidul Quader said he would instruct the BRTA to look into the matter. 

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