Thursday, May 30, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

The anarchy of Eid holidays

Prices of travel tickets during the holiday seasons has been left unchecked for too long

Update : 09 May 2022, 10:24 AM

In an open market economy, when a product’s demand increases, the price goes up in the market because the supply doesn’t expand to meet the increased demand. The same thing occurs to the bus, train, air, and water transportation fares after Eid.

In the last three days before Eid, roughly 7.2 million people left the capital to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones, but not before enduring various hardships during the journey itself. But now that people have started returning to the capital, they are being made to pay excessive fares for tickets further compounding their miseries.

Alongside the ticket crisis and traffic congestion on their way back, the increased fares on buses and launches are goading many people to travel by train. But, again, due to the black market for train tickets being a thing, travellers have to buy train tickets from the black market at an increased price.

What is even going on?

Long-distance bus fares have increased by 27% and launch fares 35% since diesel prices jumped last year; as a result, travel costs have increased more than usual this year. Here the passengers are being compelled to pay more than the fare fixed by the government for Eid-time travel. Unfortunately, this has done nothing to stop passengers being made to pay extra fare and travellers are having to accept this irregularity due to the lack of any alternatives.

The Passenger Welfare Association has claimed that transport owners and extortionists have all but looted an additional Tk8,000 crore during Eid. The association's secretary general has complained that the bus fare is now being charged from 1.5 to twice as much more than before, while air ticket fares are up by almost 2.5 times more. When it comes to launches, a double-bed cabin -- previously available at Tk2,500 -- cannot be found for any amounts under Tk3,500. 

Flawed supervision by government agencies and insufficient legal action by the passengers prove to be significant hindrances in preventing the gross increase of fares. However, in this case, even if some passengers protest, there is no remedy; rather, they are often physically harassed. But if the government authorities, as well as the passengers, are not aware of the prevention of these irregularities, then it will be challenging to stop these irregularities.

At least 7.2 million people are returning to Dhaka from their villages by the road after the Eid holidays, and there are allegations of overcharging on the roads especially with regards to long-distance buses. Under section 34(4) of the Road Transport Act 2018, any additional fares cannot be claimed or collected on transportation as prescribed by notification in the Government Gazette. If any extra fare is collected from a passenger on the road, they can get redressal under the act and by filing a complaint to BRTA.

Also Read

According to section 80 of the aforementioned act, a violation of section 34(4) is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month or a fine of Tk10,000, or both. If a passenger is charged any extra fares, BRTA can be informed by calling 333 during office hours to complain. Additionally, passengers can send complaints to [email protected].  

The practice of selling train tickets in the black market must be eradicated to restore order in the railways. To prevent the black market sale of train tickets, the way tickets are transferred has to be changed. In today’s Bangladesh, all adults possess an NID and/or a birth certificate, so requesting an NID be shown at the time of ticket purchase must be made mandatory. Tickets with NID or birth certificate numbers attached have the potential to cause the black market to completely crumble. It’s also worth mentioning that, according to our laws, the transfer of tickets is a punishable offense under section 114 of the Railways Act 1890.  

The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) acts as the guardian body of water transportation, but the authority has not taken any visible steps against the practice of collecting extra fares from passengers on watercrafts. According to section 59 of the Inland Shipping Ordinance 1976, there is an obligation to set the maximum and minimum fare, and according to section 60 there is the obligation to display the rent chart, but the launch authorities do not always follow it. As a result, passengers are all but forced to pay extra fares.

The Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection offers some relief to the passengers: Selling goods, drugs, or services at a price higher than the price fixed under section 40 of the Consumers’ Right Protection Act 2009 is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding Tk50,000, or both. 

If a consumer is deceived upon buying a ticket, the 16121 hotline can be called for complaints -- this hotline number is open 24 hours a day. Complaints can also be made by mail with evidence ([email protected]).

In case of returning home on Eid and returning to the capital after Eid celebrations, a national monitoring cell will have to be formed in coordination with the relevant government agencies to ensure the overall safety and easing the suffering of travellers.

The time has come to put an end to the absolute anarchy that occurs every year before and after Eid.

Md Harisur Rohoman is a freelance contributor.

Top Brokers


Popular Links