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No bus fare hike this time

Published : 12 Jan 2022 10:31 PM | Updated : 13 Jan 2022 01:49 PM

Despite buses being scheduled to run at half capacity to comply with health rules from next Saturday (Jan 15), bus fares are not increasing.

Bus owners will transport passengers at existing fares. 

Chairman of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) Nur Mohammad Majumder shared the information with the media after a meeting with stakeholders on Wednesday.

The BRTA chairman said, “Transport owners and top leaders of trade unions had suggested that the owners would not have to incur losses if 100 percent passengers are allowed in buses and minibuses during the restriction. If 50 percent of the passengers are transported, the transport crisis in the capital will reach its peak and the suffering of the passengers will reach unlimited levels.” 

“In this situation, they have suggested transporting full capacity passengers maintaining hygiene rules in the bus and bus terminals in the same way as passengers are being transported in buses and minibuses now,” added Noor Mohammad Majumder. 

The proposal of transport owners and workers’ representatives will be sent to the concerned policy makers of the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges. Then a decision will be taken in this regard, he further added.  

Mashiur Rahman Ranga, who took part in the meeting on behalf of the bus owners, demanded to carry passengers in all the seats despite the restrictions. 

He said, “We have demanded carrying passengers in all the seats in accordance with the rules of hygiene in the same way that the aircraft takes passengers in all the seats. I demand that priority be given to drivers and workers to get vaccinated. We do not want to increase the fare in any way.” 

Highlighting the rationale for carrying passengers in all the seats, the Jatiya Party leader said, “If we operate buses with half passengers, there will be a crisis. It will not be possible to increase the number of buses suddenly.”

However, the BRTA chairman said, “It would not be logical to increase bus fares now. This is because the fare for passenger transport on buses has been increased in view of the increase in the price of fuel last November. We have had extensive discussions on this issue with the concerned including transport owners and labor leaders. They finally agreed that raising fares would put more pressure on passengers and it would not make sense to raise them at this time.”

During the restrictions in 2020, in the first phase, all public transport including buses were closed for 68 days. From June 1 of that year, the bus service operated with half of the passengers. On the proposal of the owners, the fare for bus minibuses was increased by 60 percent at that time. Last year, bus owners implemented half-passenger transport guidelines by raising fares.

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