Passengers’ rights body demands withdrawal of fare hike
With the ever increasing price of daily commodities amid the coronavirus crisis, the bus fare hike has put yet another burden on commuters in the country.
The government increased the fares for public buses by 60% which will be in effect from June 1.
Talking with several commuters, this correspondent learnt that most people found this decision to be irrational.
Nirban Kumar, job holder at a private organization, said: “I live in Khilkhet and my office is on Panthapath. The buses already take an unreasonable amount of money in the name of providing seating service. How can I pay Tk100-200 every day, just for transportation?”
Another aggrieved commuter, Touhida Altaf, told Dhaka Tribune: “The government is only thinking of the bus owners, not the people. I don’t know how they will ensure that every public bus maintains the health guidelines. The buses will only use this as an excuse to earn some extra money.”
Passengers’ rights body rejects hiked bus fare
Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a passenger welfare organization, rejected the 60% increase in bus fares and demanded reinstating the previous fares for the welfare of the people in general.
Md Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of Jatri Kalyan Samity, made the demand on Sunday, adding that hiking the fare by so much, presenting false and irrational calculations, is nothing but oppression of helpless people.
He said: “The government is unjustifiably imposing a 60% hike in bus fares amid the Covid-19 crisis, tricked by the bus owners. The decision was taken without consulting passenger representatives.”
Ilias Kanchan, chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai (We Demand Safe Road), a social movement for road safety awareness, told Dhaka Tribune that a huge weight has been imposed on the people by making such an illogical decision without considering everything properly.
“Train, launch, and plane (except for Biman Bangladesh) fares have not been increased; only the bus fare was increased. This has happened as some bus owners are members of the ruling party, and they have influenced the government to take such a decision,” he remarked.
“As we have seen in the past, hikes are not reduced afterwards,” commented Kanchan, also a famous actor.
“A delegate from the owners’ side said drivers will not have to pay extortion money on the highways from now. If the government ensures speed-money free highway journeys and reduces fuel prices as it has fallen in the world market, this 60% hike will not need to be imposed,” he said.
He added that law enforcement would also feel the heat, trying to control irregularities across the country.
The announcement of the fare hike came through a circular issued by the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry on Sunday afternoon, saying that the increased fare will be applicable only during the Covid-19 crisis period, and previous fare rates will be reinstated as soon as the crisis ends.