The seating service policy in buses has not yet been finalized despite a policy to this effect being announced one and a half years ago. However, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has formed an eight-member recommendation committee to resolve this issue, sources said.
Bus companies are misusing provisions for seating facilities by increasing fares, complain regular passengers. Local buses have been seen to be turned into seating service buses overnight. In this regard, the committee tasked with resolving the seating service issue was asked to submit a report within three months in the public interest.
The head of the committee was BRTA’s Road Safety Division director Sheikh Md Mahbub-e Rabbani. The other members of the committee are organizing secretary of Dhaka Road Transport Owners Association Advocate Mahbubur Rahman, labour leader Shahjahan Babul, representative of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, and director of BRTA Dhaka Division among others.
The committee submitted the report on October 15, 2017. The committee highlighted 26-point observation in the report which include: colour of seating service buses will be different from local service buses, number of bus stations will be fewer than those for local service buses, government will decide how many ‘seating buses’ will be on any route, local buses cannot be turned into seating service buses without authorisation, passengers cannot stand in seating service buses.
According to these observations and recommendations, a decision will be taken within a week, said Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.
Meanwhile, Jatiya Kalyan Samity has said that 87 percent of the buses are charging extra money from passengers in the name of seating service. Many are dodging the rules set by BRTA.
However, after the 41st meeting of the Road Transport Advisory Council on October 25, 2017, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader assured, “There will be no further complications.”
According to the government’s decision, from October 1, 2016, the fare of the bus was increased by 10 paisa to 1.70 paisa per kilometre. Minibus fares were also increased by 10 paisa to 60 paisa. So, if the buses cross 10 kilometres, the fare increases only 1 taka.
Transport services on various routes of Dhaka have been found to charge extra amounts between Tk 2 and Tk 20 from fares. Besides, the ‘local’ buses which used to charge five taka earlier now demand six taka. Moreover, the fares which were previously Tk 7-8 have gone up to Tk 10.