Multiple senior officials of Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges said the “seating service” buses are likely to run again in Dhaka from next week following a recommendation of a combined committee for fair public transport.
The committee asked Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to allowing the bus owners to continue the service as the government drive in April could not reduce the extra fair effectively but only snatched commuters’ comfort.
Ajoy Dasgupta, associate editor of Daily Samakal, also a member of the committee, said: “We have conducted several meetings before approaching towards BRTA with our recommendation. We really think the public transport system will improve from the current situation if BRTA allows seating service on the city roads.”
However, the Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader is yet to find the recommendation report.
He said: “We are supposed to receive the report by next week and we will take a decision over the issue within the week.”
The minister made the remark during a meeting with Road Transport Advisory Council at his Secretariat on Wednesday.
The government’s policy of not allowing “seating service” buses on Dhaka roads will witness a massive U-turn if the BRTA allows the bus owners to run the service.
In April, BRTA conducted a month-long drive to stop private operators from running the “seating service” with additional fares. Bus owners repeatedly claimed they suffered losses after the “seating service” stopped since the government’s drive.
There is no mention of “seating service” system in the Motor Vehicle Ordinance of Bangladesh which offers BRTA the authority to fix the fare of local buses but not the “seating service”.
As per the BRTA fare chart, bus fare in Dhaka is Tk1.7 per kilometre and mini-bus fare is Tk1.6 per kilometre. The “seating service” providers fix the fare by themselves.
The committee for fair public transport recommended BRTA to provide a colour code for the selective buses. The fare should be fixed by BRTA, the service should have previously selected bus stops, the committed mentioned in their recommendation.