The High Court has asked Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to take measures to stop realizing extra fares on all public transport across the country.
The court also asked to properly display or hang the fare chart at all bus and minibus stands across the country. The BRTA was asked to take necessary measures to hang a fare chart in public transport and ensure that it is clearly visible at each designated bus stands and terminals and display it through electronic billboards within a month.
The HC bench of Justice Mamunur Rahman and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman issued the order on Monday (January 24) after hearing on a writ petition.
The HC bench also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why the failure to enact rules regarding fare hike of buses, minibusses and other public transports as per Section 122 of the Road Transport Act (RTA), 2018 will not be announced illegal and violation of the law.
Supreme Court lawyers Advocate Md Abu Taleb, Advocate Mokhlesur Rahman and Barrister Mustasim Tanjir stood for the writ petition, while Deputy Attorney General Bipul Bagmar represented the state during the hearing.
Secretary of the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry, Assistant Secretary of the ministry, Chairman of the BRTA, and its director (engineering) were made respondents in the writ petition. They were asked to respond to the rule within four weeks.
After the increase in the price of diesel on November 4, the fare of public transport was increased. Even then, the transport owners and the transport workers were accused of charging more than the fixed fare.
Later, on January 4, Advocate Abu Taleb filed the writ petition with the High Court, seeking its directives, including slapping a prohibition on raising fares in all public transports in the future until making a policy of Road Transport Act, 2018.
The lawyer said, “The government increases the fare of public transports without making a policy in light of the relevant law. The public transport owners, drivers and transport staff are taking advantage of this. On the other hand, passengers are facing harassment. Despite having a fixed rate of transport fare, transport fare collectors are collecting extra fares from passengers. We want to get relief from these harassments.”
As per section 34 (3) of the RTA, no public transport can carry passengers without displaying a fare chart on the electronic board at stoppages. According to section 34 (4) of the law, public transport owners, drivers and transport staff cannot collect additional fares from passengers, except the ones fixed.
As per section 122 of the law, to achieve its objectives, the government has to make a policy through issuing a gazette notification, the lawyer added.