Many city commuters who travel by public buses at night are allegedly being harassed in many ways by transport workers every day. They seem to follow no regulations set by the government.
The alleged irregularities seem to continue day after day despite complaints being lodged to the authorities. There are allegations of hefty bribes being paid to the regulators who instead of enforcing public transport regulations, deny noticing any violations.
It is alleged that many of the transports operating on Gabtoli-Savar route drop off passengers arbitrarily in the middle of the road instead of specific destination points which put many of passengers exposed to possibilities of being mugged.
In addition, such transport drivers and conductors also make final stoppage at points as they wish and connect them to another intercity bus forcing additional journey without telling passengers in advance.
On Saturday night at around 12.45 am this correspondent found a transport called - Moumita Paribahan on Dhaka-Savar road dropping its passengers in the middle of the road. Asked why they dropped off passengers in the middle of the road without reaching the destination, the bus driver explained, "If I go to Savar with those 8 passengers, the cost of my fuel already burnt will not be realized. So I connected the passengers to another bus supervisor for money."
Most of the bus drivers and helpers going to Savar via Signboard to Chandra, Motijheel to Nabinagar and Gulistan route, apply such mechanism of ‘selling passengers’ at different points of the journey at night. They 'sell' passengers at different prices on different buses without charging the fixed fare to the destination. Then the passengers are being further harassed in the connecting bus.
Over the last few days, such irregularities were noticed being in practice on various public transports operating from the capital to Nabinagar through Chandra bound Moumita.
Besides, different transport operators in the city are allegedly realizing extra fares even though they do not complete reaching the destinations. Despite charging extra fare in the name of direct and seating service, they carry extra standing passengers.
Asked about the reasons for the irregularities, a transport owner on condition of anonymity told Bangladesh Post that there is a crisis of passengers due to the coronavirus. So the buses are handed over to the drivers and helpers on a daily fixed amount of money deposit basis. The drivers and helpers pick up the passengers at will and collect the extra fares as they wish. At the end of the day, they pay the bus owner the agreed amount.
Sumon, a helper of MM Lovely transport said that the bus is taken on a contract basis from the bus owner. The more it earns, the more the driver and helper gain. “In addition, we have to pay money to some people as costs on the roads. So even if we carry passengers standing up, we have to pay the fares of the seating service.
About the allegations and irregularities, the Road Transport Owners Association general secretary Khandaker Enayet Ullah said, "No matter how many passengers there are, no bus driver or helper can drop passengers in the middle of the road without a specific destination on a particular route. They cannot even charge extra money. These are completely unfair. If any written complaint is received in this regard, action will be taken."