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Dhaka Tribune

ED: Bus operators need to respect the rules

The laxity in oversight has emboldened bus operators do as they please

Update : 13 Aug 2020, 08:43 PM

Social distancing is a necessity in today’s world. This is particularly important on public transportation such as buses, where person-to-person contact is high. As such, it is incumbent upon operators to adhere to the rules and maintain social distancing guidelines for the benefit of all. 

However, it is extremely disheartening to see that not only are bus operators ignoring the 12 conditions set down by the government, they have been charging arbitrarily increased bus fares, sometimes double the usual. Companies are taking advantage of what is a global pandemic, and hapless passengers are paying the price. This is not acceptable. 

Quite simply, randomly charging double is tantamount to harassment, and has been made possible because of a lack of monitoring and enforcement on part of the authorities. The laxity in oversight has emboldened bus operators do as they please, in this case turning a national emergency into an opportunity for quick profit.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, much needed to be done to bring bus companies in line, which are notorious for flouting rules, frequently resulting in the tragic loss of life. This pattern has continued. Back in May, the government resumed bus operations but imposed 12 conditions, including mandatory disinfection before trips, the availability of hand sanitizers, and masks for all staff. Certainly, these conditions have not been met. A doubling of the fare, then, cannot be justified on any grounds. 

The pandemic has thrown much of everyday life into disarray, but we will only emerge safe from it by sticking to the rules and guidelines that have been formulated by experts, and put forth by the authorities. Flouting them in this manner is short-sighted, and potentially disastrous. 

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